In Search of the Lean Six Life

Smarter, not harder. Preferrably A LOT smarter.


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Annual Garden Update, Post B

It’s taking me a lot longer to post all my garden updates than I expected it would. Many of my photos are a week or two old now, and don’t really reflect how my garden looks it is ever evolving. I will try finish as many posts as possible in the next few days, otherwise it will be fall and I’ll be writing in the past tense!

Today’s post: Cucurbitaceae! The biggest change with squash this year was the varieties I planted.  Because Squash Vine Borers destroyed my yellow squash, zucchini and acorn squash last year, this year I planted solid-stemmed varieties, which gives the SVB nowhere for their larvae to grow, and (hopefully) preserves the plant. I still have seen quite a few adults, but mostly my vines seem unaffected so far.   ….which was the point!

First and foremost – the Trombetta squash.  Apparently this guy is actually a ‘gourd’, but if you eat the fruit when it’s still young, it works like yellow squash or zucchini in recipes.

Trombetta Squash

Trombetta Squash – Front View of Box

We’ve also got swanky new trellises for them to climb, made of PVC and plastic fence so it can be reused multiple years.  Here’s a few from behind the box – we added hemp twine between the trellises so the trombetta could continue to grow since it WAY outclassed the trellis!  (It has since passed the cucumber trellis, and is continuing to grow!)

Trombetta Squash

Trombetta Squash, making their escape!

This is a photo from a few days ago (as opposed to the others which were from over a week ago, so you can see a trombetta squash in its full glory.  (I have since planted some summer lettuce in the shade of the trombetta trellis.)

Trombetta Squash

Trombetta Squash fruit ready to pick!

It was picked shortly after this photo – 2 feet long, over 1 1/2 lbs of squashy goodness!

Here are the cucumbers. We planted a mix of ‘regular’ salad type cucumbers and picking cukes as I have determined that pickling and fermenting (rather than canning) is my favorite way to preserve produce. Well, or freezing. But frozen cucumbers? Ew.  I have almost enough cucumbers to pickle now, in fact, and plan on trying this recipe.  Mmmmm, homemade pickles!

Cucumbers

Cucumbers on a trellis

We have had some problems with the cucumber fruit not setting, probably due to fertilization issues. Not sure why, but there are very few honey bees in our garden this year.  The ones who do show up go for the cover in the lawn, rather than the yummy flowers in the garden. Oh well. The problem wasn’t so bad that I had to try fertilizing by hand.  We’ve had some issues with cucumber beetles also, but so far they haven’t done too much damage.

Underside of the cucumbers – nappa cabbage and cauliflower, which isn’t producing a head for some strange reason – none of them are. Topic for another post, probably!

Random cauliflower and cabbage under the cucumbers.

Random cauliflower and cabbage under the cucumbers.

We also planted a solid-stemmed winter squash: a miniature butternut squash called “Honey Nut”. The mature fruit are about the size of an acorn squash.

Miniature butternut - "honey nut"

Miniature butternut – “honey nut”

The butternut did need some extra hand fertilization, unfortunately. Probably more than I have actually given it!  Here’s a close-up of the fruit:

A baby honey nut butternut squash!

A baby honey nut butternut squash!

And what’s growing under the trellis:

Cauliflower and borage

Cauliflowers and borage flowers growing under the butternut

Last but not least, we bought a little pop up greenhouse, in which we’re trying  to grow yellow squash and zucchini, protected from the ravages of the SVB.  Unfortunately this also means protected from bugs that can fertilize them so these we have tried pollinating by hand.  …so far we’re not very good at it. It shouldn’t be that hard, but there seems to be a timing issue we haven’t gotten the hang of yet.

Regular yellow squash and zucchinis, protected in the greenhouse

Regular yellow squash and zucchinis, protected in the greenhouse