Sunday, July 6, 2008

First cucumbers!

After a very slow month, my garden is really starting to come to life! First the watermelon started to fruit and now the cucumbers have decided to grace my garden. I'm going to have so many cucumbers to harvest... I don't know what to do with it all. I guess I'll have to learn how to make pickles! Or eat LOTS OF SALAD! Or make a cucumber and tomato sandwich. Yum!

Below: My cucumbers at my parents' raised bed garden

Because cucumbers have a tendency to spread, we decided to use bamboo sticks to help them grow vertically. The bamboo sticks (above) come from my parents' very own bamboo bush. My mom and I ventured into the bamboo "forest" in the backyard and cut down the larger, stronger bamboo stalks to use on the cucumber plants.

Below: The bamboo "forest" in the backyard

Bamboo also has a tendency to spread like crazy. You have to work very hard to maintain it. Each spring, we go into the backyard and dig up the shoots that form outside of the designated area. It's hard work to keep the bamboo forest in its correct location, but the bamboo is very beautiful and very useful in gardening.

Below: The cucumbers that have started to form

These cucumbers are best suited for salads because they will end up having smoother skin. The flowers are beautiful, and the cucumber itself is lovely to see. For several weeks, the cucumber plants have been growing with only male flowers. It's refreshing to see the female flowers and the cucumbers.

Since my plants have started to give birth to vegetables and fruit, I've been able to determine which flowers are male and female. In the beginning of my garden adventures, I was completely clueless. And now I can spot the different types. A very cool feeling to know a little something about gardening!

Below: The cucumbers in the square foot garden

At Cam's house, I also used bamboo sticks to allow the plants to grow vertically. These cucumber plants were replacements that we bought after our first batch failed due to illness. So far, no disease (the roots are not split in two), and these plants have also started to have female flowers.

The variety of cucumber is the picklin' type. They have rougher skin and I believe they are called pickling cucumbers. Anyway, there are so many cucumbers growing in this square. I'm excited about the possibilities!


Jan said...

Hello, DP! I'm just stopping by to say hello, and to praise the gorgeous pictures on your blog. I love seeing your good-looking SFGs and gazing at the gorgeous produce. You have inspired me to start an SFG blog, too. I'm just waiting for my garden box to arrive so I can begin!

Gail said...

Really terrific photos! Your SFG is cool and it may be just the ticket for me if I decide to grow a vegetable garden!
Wow, that is some bamboo forest. But you do get some good stakes from it!

Eve said...

Wow! Everything is looking great. You know, in the South, we slice and dip those cukes in batter and fry them.

tina said...

DP, You can easily make pickles if you can make jam. Pickles are easier but you must seal the jars by boiling.

Eve-What do you fry cukes in?? I never heard of that.

DP Nguyen said...

Hi Jan! Welcome. I'm so thrilled to hear that I've inspired you. I can't wait to see what your garden looks like when everything is said and done!

Gail-Thank you! SFG is a fun way to vegetable garden. It doesn't take up too much space, and you can get so much variety in the different squares.

Eve-I'm from the South, and I have never heard of that! It does sound delicious though. A little unhealthy, but southern food is good for the soul, not for the heart. LoL.

Tina-Oh! that's wonderful to hear. I saw some packets for pickling in the store yesterday. I actually bought a real canner for boiling the mason jars, since the first batch of plum jam. Next time, I won't forget to boil the jars at the end of the process! :-D

Anonymous said...

lovely plants.

Puyallup florist

Dave said...

The fired cucumbers sounds interesting! Too many cucumbers is a good problem to have! I've already had to give some to neighbors since we couldn't consume ours in a reasonable time. Growing bamboo sounds neat but the runners intimidate me.

Skeeter said...

I am glad your cucumbers are staring to take off now! Mine were producing really well but we took them out of the pot and put them into the ground and all the tiny babies died on me. I am guessing too much stress. We are seeing new babies forming though so in time we should pick one…

Love the bamboo and want to plant some between us and the neighbors to hide out their ugly yard but the Saint will not allow me to plant any due to the invasiveness…

I have heard of fried Squash (crook-neck and zucchini) but not Cucumbers. Fried pickles are starting to pop up on Appetizer menus in some restaurants.

DP Nguyen said...

Hi Dave- Yeah, I've heard people say that bamboo is too intrusive, and it does take a lot of hard work. And it can be a nightmare, if you're not careful.

Skeeter- Glad to hear about your cucumbers (the new growth, not the ones that died, lol)! I hope you'll be able to harvest some later this summer!

Casey said...

cool blog but show a male and female flowers