Cucumbers


Dear Gentle Reader, 

I took several photos before I left on my trip, and then more this morning.  So, I think I will compare before and after pictures. 

This was the corn the evening before I left.  As you can see it has grown over the PCP pipes I have for the winter cover.  The pipes seem to be helping to hold the corn up when it is super windy.  On this evening, the corn had begun to make tassels, though it is difficult to see here.  Also, some of the stalks were just beginning to show a little silk. 

Corn on June 24, 2010.

And here we are a week later, on the morning of July 1, 2010.  It is much taller, way over my 5’4″ head.  All of the corn has tassels, and most of them have tassels for an ear of corn.  How many ears of corn does a single plant get in any way?  One ear?  Two?  More?  Interestingly, some of the ears have white silk, and others have red silk.  The plants with the red silk also have some reddish coloring on their stalks and leaves.  Since this variety produces both gold and maroon ears, I am guessing that the white silk goes with the golden ears, and the red silks go with the maroon ears. 

Silk on a baby ear of corn.

Corn with red silks - a maroon-colored ear coming up? 

The cucumbers are all growing well.  First, lets take a look at the Mexican Sour Gherkins.  These plants are growing like gang-busters.  And they are covered with teeny tiny cucumbers.  The whole plant is kind of tiny (leaves, fruit, flowers) except that it grows many really long vines very quickly.  For those who aren’t familiar with Mexican Sour Gherkins, they are a bit sour (of course) and look like tiny watermelons (with the green and white stripes).  In the second photo, below, you can just begin to see the stripes on the little cuke.  They will make great pickles.  

Mexican Sour Gherkin Covered with Baby Cukes!

Baby Mexican Sour Gherkin

As far as the H-19 Little Leaf cukes, they are growing well, and covered with flowers.  But I have only seen male flowers so far.  Today, I actually planted three more H-19 Little Leaf starts, as I have only one vine on the trellis.  The others were munched by something.  Maybe Bambi? 

H-19 Little Leaf Cucumber on Trellis.

Is it a male or a female bud? We'll see soon.

I need to harvest the leeks this weekend.  They are looking kind of bad, as they were blown over in a storm a couple of weeks ago.  But, here you can see what the flowers look like.  It is kind of interesting, since they start out white and then turn pink. 

Old and new leek blooms.

The bees seemed to really like the leek blooms.  They were all over them.  I got a picture of this odd bee.  It was shiny metallic bottle green.  I thought that it might be a fly, but it didn’t have the fly eyes.  So I looked it up, and apparently it is of the genus Agapostemon virescens, a kind of sweat bee.  They are solitary bees, like mason bees.  I but up a mason bee house, but haven’t seen any activity there yet.

Agapostemon virescens having a leek lunch.

And finally, I wanted to show you the royal velvet okra.  It is a pretty plant, though the stem seems to be kind of spindly.  The leaves have lovely dark maroon spots, veins and stems. 

Royal Velvet Okra.

Dear Gentle Reader,

1. Plant Something:  It has been raining at least every other day.  On top of that, it has been in the upper ’80s.  So, I haven’t gotten to do too much in the way of planting.  I did do a lot of weeding.  And every time we had a big storm, the winds knocked everything down, and I tied it back up.  So, the fava beans have been tied up several times.  Saturday I staked off the corn.  Yesterday I staked up the cherry tomatoes.  This morning I staked up the slicer tomatoes. 

I planted four pots of H-19 Little Leaf Cukes (from Highmowing Seeds).  They are pickling cucumbers.  I picked them because they are resistant to Angular Leaf Spot, Anthracnose, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Scab.  I am hoping that they do well, but I have only one in the garden.  I planted some others, but they got eaten by Bambi.  I also transplanted a Mexican Sour gherkin into a large pot.  I found that you can get all kinds of FREE growers pots at the nursery.  They have a huge bin where people drop their used pots off for recycling.  So, I picked up a bunch on Sunday.  Yay! 🙂

2. Harvest Something:  Garlic scapes.  A bunch of mint and a bunch of thyme.  It was great on pan-seared lamb chops.

3. Preserve Something:  nothing

4. Waste Not: Picked up growers pots for free from recycling at my local nursery.

5. Want Not: Still working on my sourdough bread baking skills.  I started adapting the sourdough recipe to oatmeal.  The first try was ok, but it needs work.

6. Build Community Food Systems:  Investigated which orchards and farms are actually near me (within the surrounding counties).  I e-mailed an orchard not too far away from here, and they still have PYO cherries for only $2.50/lb.  Is that a good price?  I’m not sure.  They also have apples, blueberries, raspberries, and asian pears.  So, I need to get my family geared up for some picking.

7. Eat the Food:  More sourdough bread; mint and thyme