Rootin’ Tootin’ Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,130 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,150 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Garden Gate/Rootin’ Tootin’ Expert Level Merit Badge, I was basking in the warm glow of achievement. Oh, Expert Level Badges, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

The warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I earn one.

The newfound knowledge that makes my head swell (in a totally humble and attractive way, of course).

The eagerness with which I tell my friends and family.

Embroidering my badge and feeling oh-so-accomplished.

If you’re new to earning Merit Badges, my little chickadees, let me say, this is a good one (and a yummy one) to start out with. Why, you’ll be an Expert in no time. (And we can hang. Yo.)

My radishes were delish and my beets had taken off like gangbusters. Now it was time to try a few new varieties of root veggies. Adding to my repertoire, as the sophisticated people say. I picture them twirling their mustaches and peering through their monocles as they do so, but maybe that’s just me.


Illustration, Ragtimedorianhenry2010 Johnson via Wikimedia Commons

I thought long and hard about which veggie to grow and settled upon these three beauties: ginger (say what?! I know, right?), sweet potatoes, and parsnips.

Boy, those three already sound like a yummy gratin or potato pancake to me.

Anyway, I used planters since I don’t trust myself to remember where I plant things if they don’t have the courtesy to actually emerge from the ground at some point. Call me forgetful. I call it ADOS! (Attention Deficit – Oh Squirrel).

I had no idea, until I began researching it, that I could grow my own ginger. And simple? Look up the word “simple” and you’ll see a photo of my already-growing ginger root in my super-cute terra cotta pot.


Illustration, Franz Eugen Köhler via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the skinny, girls: take a hunk of store-bought ginger (organic, of course) and bury it. Step Two: well, there really isn’t a Step Two. That’s basically it. Plant it, and it will begin to blossom and grow. If only all gardening were this simple! When you need some, take it out and chop off a piece. Then put it back. Heck, this stuff not only multiplies, but it stores itself at the same time. That’s a win-win in my book. Grate it into your teas, into your homemade Asian recipes, into your chocolate truffles, and into your morning muffins.

The parsnips took a little more work, but only because I was scared of them. “Hey, new vegetables, here I am, what are you about?”

Photo, Jeremy Keith via Wikimedia Commons

Turns out these cuties are excellent roasted next to some carrots, drizzled with honey and balsamic. And growing them was nearly as simple: into the next-size-up terra cotta pot they went, and they took off like the sweet and eager-to-please vegetable they are.

For the sweet potatoes, I went ahead and took a gamble; I was out of pots. So into the ground they went, with a marker that hopefully won’t blow away or be used as a fetching stick (I’m looking at you, Ms. Twinkles). Another benefit to growing your sweet spuds outdoors is the fact that they belong to the nightshade family and are closely related to the morning glory. Prettiness in spades!


Photo, H. Zell via Wikimedia Commons

Yay for my new pals, the root veggies. What about yours?

  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    good for you!
    sweet potatoes can be tricky, read how to treat them when they are out of the ground , they need ot sit a awhile.
    wow the tip about ginger is just so wonderful. Im telling everyone that one! thanks MaryJane! and I love love love ADOS ! made my day!!

    • Karlyne says:

      I feel silly, but I don’t know what ADOS stands for!

      • MaryJane says:

        When you’re easily distracted, you’re acting like maybe a cat who chases a squirrel. You’re doing one thing and then you’re chasing something else. “Squirrel!” people say when they find themselves not staying on task.

        • Karlyne says:

          So, Attention Deficit Oh Squirrel? I hadn’t seen the initials before, I think. Although I may have been distracted by a squirrel and forgotten…

          • MaryJane says:

            Definitely, it sounds like a squirrel grabbed your attention and made it deficit:) Carol had a great squirrel story that she shared with us yesterday. I’ll encourage her to write it up.

  2. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    oh and i dont have a “read more” tag on CJ’s post so i want to say to her, she is always an inspiration when she writes. Go at em CJ !

  3. Karlyne says:

    Confession time: I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a parsnip. Probably because I’m not a turnip fan (although if they’re young and RAW) I sorta like them, although not enough to grow them. But I’ve read that parsnips are lovely. Is that true?!?

    • Lisa Von Saunder says:

      They can be so sweet that the English make cakes from them. Alas my parsnips arent that sweet. they say the trick is to leave them in the ground and a frost sweetens them

      • MaryJane says:

        Good morning Lisa. I know my carrots when left in the ground after frost are sweeter. Hey, I fixed the MORE tag on CJ’s merit badge Hear Ye post. Thanks for the heads up. Have-to-remember-that-durn-thing:)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *