Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grow my pretties, grow!

My first year gardening I built 2 large-ish trellises using branch trimmings borrowed from neighbor's yards. They've been holding up well enough for their shoddy construction, a little rotted twine here, a broken branch there. I just attach a new branch/stick with more twine in an empty or fragile looking place and pray for the best. This year I attempted to plant Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake beans by each of the trellises, but for some reason, be it sun or a pest issue, only one trellis got covered with vines. It seems that the other trellis was not going to get covered with beans despite a second attempt on my part, so I figured I'd try the next best fast growing vine I could think of: cucumbers!

I grew cucumbers last year and was aghast as to how fast the vines grew and smothered everything in its path. This year I figured I'd have it covered, plant fewer seeds and thin, thin, thin. Yeah... that thinning thing is hard for me... it always seemed like such a waste... so once again, the cucumber is taking over. This is not a bad thing per say either; I know plenty of people who like/want cucumber and my husband and I are interested in trying to make kosher dill pickles again (he hates vinegar and the first time we made them it was failure, the jar wasn't big enough and the scum reached the pickles, ick).

It's just that... sometimes the cucumbers... they frighten me. I'll be looking one way and then I turn around and it's though it's grown a foot in front of me! One minute there's a flower and then the next, fruiting.


It's sort of good that I let the cucumbers go to town because I've been noticing some squash vine borer moths flying around the cucumber/strawberry/okra bed, and so I think they've gotten desperate and are going to make their move on the cukes. Fudge muffins. Well, this is why I've got more plant than I need... *sigh*

The irony of me being up to my chin in cucumbers is that my husband doesn't even like them with the exception of an occasional kosher dill pickle. I've found recipes that involving cooking them and he tolerates them a lot more, but it's definitely something he isn't fond of. He also doesn't like melons (cantelopes, watermelons, honeydew... he's a nut!) So, I wonder if his taste buds sense a similar distaste with cucumber as he does with those as they are all in the same family.

As you might have noticed, these cucumbers come armed. Not sure what's up with the black spikies, but my understanding is that the pickling types (this is a cheap seed pack I picked up) tend to be short, stubby and spiky fruited. The spikes come off fairly easily when they are mature enough to pick. A little more prickly when young.
Perhaps I'll go a more exotic route next year in cucumbers, if I do grow them. Maybe something like the Armenian cucumbers that are fuzzy. Gotta love a fuzzy cucumber ;)

My butternut squash seems to still be holding on, though I do note nasty fracas near the base of one of the vines, and the usual suspect is a vine borer. I've allowed another main vine to grow alongside the ground as I noticed it had started producing small white roots. If it roots up well the squash will probably survive as it has alternate routes to get water/nutrients. It's sort of a crap shoot when growing the squash up a trellis too as it might survive the borers better if it was growing fully on the ground to produce more roots where the stem touched, but ground is precious space and if you saw my husband with the spin trimmer, well...
Lookin' good though! I think it needs to turn more yellow and the stem becomes more dry and woody when it's mature enough to eat/cure for storage. Mmmm, butternut squash soup. Vegetable gardening seems sort of morbid in the sense that you grow your "babies" only in anticipation to eat them!

All this cool rainy weather has apparently confused the heck out of the asparagus and it thinks its spring again because 2 lovely looking stalks were poking out of the soil this morning. I jumped at the thought of eating some of it for dinner and reminded myself to grab it before dinner but of course forgot to. I have hopes that it might be there still tomorrow, but as the asparagus is as frightening in its speedy growth as cucumber is (potentially 7 inches in one day), I won't be surprised to see some frondy, unappetizing stalks tomorrow. *Cry* Proscuitto wrapped asparagus, thou hast thwarted my tummy!
I keep becoming paranoid about my asparagus because these were moved after their first year in one bed to another as we realized that the bed was in an unfortunate spot. While they appear to be doing well, I couldn't accurately gauge if they seemed to have suffered greatly because well, we had moved them. Upcoming spring should give me a more accurate picture. I understand too that asparagus really like to stay established too. Able to produce for 20-30, and maybe 50 years, their roots can reach as deep as 40 feet! So, when I plan on moving, as I don't think I'll be in this house that long I don't know if the asparagus will be willing to move with me.

Honestly though, I am probably more paranoid by the thought that someone might not want an asparagus bed for free when I move. Fresh asparagus with the house! That ought to be a selling point hm?

1 comment:

A Home Made said...

I love the pictures. Looks like everything is doing well. Unfortunately my zucchini got bores so I feel your pain.
I'm moving my peppers (bell, Hungarian wax, and jalapenos) to the new house so I'm crossing my fingers they'll transplant well so far into the season. But I'm supremely jealous of your garden currently.