Monday, May 11, 2009

once again karl has a lot of pictures over at his blog.

i woke up this morning only to remember i had soaked 15 pounds of dry black turtle beans last night! oh, no, say it is not so, i thought. what would possess me to do that?! well, i guess i know what i am doing today. we do need black beans, that is a plus. look on the bright side, it could have been lentils. so once i get around this morning and have the chores done i will start canning.

i had a long phone conversation with a new friend. that is a very rare thing, and it was so fun. thanks!

yesterday was a great day for us. kassiopeia picked me a bouquet just for Mother's Day. karl made me two raised beds, one for part of the yellow squash...

and another just for my hollyhocks. (black, old fashioned hollyhocks! so happy. they won't bloom this year, but next)


we planted the huge, 32' trellis of cucumbers. (we always grow Japanese Long) and at the front end, because our rows are 37' or so, i planted zucchini. the row next to this one will be pumpkins (Winter Luxury Pie) and the front end will have more summer squash, though the 'leftover' will be smaller because the carrot raised beds are there.  anyway, here's to a ton of pickles if the cucumbers thrive.

like karl detailed in his post, this trellis will be one of 4 total that fill in this empty part of the garden.



i have been using this method for so long i am surprised when people ask me about it, but i guess it is uncommon because the seed packets didn't even mention it. i trellis not just my cucumbers but also my pumpkins, butternuts and melons. otherwise we could never grow the volume we do in this garden, even if all we planted was curcurbits. the cucumbers are very willing to climb neatly. i do tie them here and there to secure against wind. the others need more convincing that they should go high and not wide. once you begin their training, though, it is a quick daily chore as you walk through the rows. i keep one pocket full of snippets of old yarn or rags. when i see a stray vine (and they can grow 6" in one night when the moon is waxing), i gently tie it back into the trellis. when you are trellising squash or melons you have to be careful of a few things- think about evenly distributing vines, don't lead them all to the same place. never turn vines around in one tie. it is a slow process, especially with pumpkins. turn them 90degrees, tie, and wait until the next day to turn some more, re-tie, etc.  try to have long pumpkin vine touch the ground and come back up more than once- it will root and be stronger. another wise practice is to avoid tying vines near female blossoms/ forming fruit.  cucurbit fruits are very sensitive and need to be left alone for the most part, unless you are hand-pollinating for seed.  i have never had any trouble with the fruit of small pie pumpkins or butternuts needing support. that is not true of melons. they must be supported. even if they are hanging fine when they are growing they will fall when they are ripe, not a pleasant scene. use old pantyhose (i don't wear hose, so i have never come across old hose. but i am told they work... old fishnets would have a nice effect) or any strong, stretchy fabric to create a sling for fruit tied to the trellis. don't sling fruit until they are well-set and growing. hmmm.. i think that covers it. one of the most delightful benefits of this method is that you have access to the stems, roots and lower parts of the leaves of your curcurbits. in case you would like to side-dress with compost, kill squash bugs or fend off root-maggots. and whether you would like to or not, you will probably have to do at least some of those things!

i just got back in from the morning chores and i guess there is no stopping the canning now. i found a big box of quart jars out in the pumphouse -enough to get me started- and they are now on the back porch. it is too bad this is such a beautiful day! i will try to steal away outside as much as i can.
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