Tag Archives: cucumbers

Adventures in Gardening Part 32 ~ Goodbye Zucchini & Cucumbers

I have been so busy working on the inside of my mom’s house that I’m afraid I’ve neglected a few things on the outside ~ my garden.

And specifically my zucchini.  Just look at the size of these babies!I had to place that yardstick in the photo with them just to try and show how freakishly humungous they are ~ 20 inches!  But you still can’t really tell.  And they weigh a ton.  Heck, I could club someone to death with these things.  Not that I would mind you, but you get the point.  😉

Well these massive mutants will be the last two of the season because I decided to clear all my zucchini plants out of my garden.  I have bags and bags of shredded zucchini in the freezer for later use, and have eaten my fill of them otherwise as well.  I am very pleased with the bountiful harvest of zucchini I’ve had, but it was time to say goodbye.

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Once I got them all cleared out I was able to get a better look at some of the poor plants that had been crowded out by them for most of the growing season.

Look at this sad scraggly broccoli plant.It’s probably not going to produce anything, but it was still alive so I couldn’t bring myself to pull it out.  It wants to live!  😀

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And look at my beensie little carrots.  The poor dears never got enough sun to fully develop properly.~

My poor celery will be so relieved to be out from under the shade of those giant zucchini leaves.  I hope they perk up a bit now.~

Also, with the zucchini out of the way it’s nice to be able to see (and smell) my rosemary again.  Mmm…~

Even despite the zucchini crowding it, my jalapeno plant is still growing happily and producing its spicy little gems.I found a few new recipes online and made some jalapeno cheddar parmesan cornbread muffins and a different sort of jalapeno poppers.  Both were quite tasty.  🙂

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My bell pepper plant that was nearly destroyed by a storm a while back, still has one stalk that refuses to give up.  There is a nice big pepper on it that I’m anxiously waiting to have turn yellow.And new little ones are forming on it as well.I sure hope no more storms come along.

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I’m excited to see that my onions are poking up out of the soil and are almost ready to harvest.~

And my champ of a strawberry plant still has tasty little berries consistently coming, but it’s producing much smaller fruits now.~

I also have small bunches of tiny tomatoes growing, but I don’t think they’ll amount to much.  I just do not know what is the deal with them, they have not met my expectations at all.  😦~

Of course it doesn’t help that the naughty thieving squirrel is still raiding my produce at will and leaving his half eaten evidence behind.

And just look what the absent minded little beast is doing to my mom’s lawn looking for his nuts.  There are tons of holes like this all over her yard…

Here’s one of your stupid nuts you idiot!Found this in one of my pots and I’m stealing it as payback to him for stealing all my stuff all summer.  Starve this winter you horrible little creature!  Muwhahaha!  😉

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I also pulled out all of my cucumber vines.  They were looking mighty haggered and weren’t producing any new cukes, so I harvested the last of whatever cucumbers were still on the vines and said farewell to them as well.

My garden box looks sort of bare now…Especially compared to before, but it feels really good to have it all cleaned out, and I did enjoy a wonderful bounty of cucumbers and zucchinis while they lasted.  🙂

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The various blooming things around my garden are at a bit of a quiet stage at the moment, even my begonias have lightened to a softer shade of pink.~

But there are a few things blooming outside at my apartment that other tenants planted earlier in the spring that are looking lovely, so I snapped a few photos of them this morning.

Blue morning glories against a glorious blue morning sky.  Ahh sooo pretty!

And a creamy white Zinnia nestled in among some pretty pink Snapdragons.

Oh I do so love blooming things!  ♥

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It was really nice to spend time outside in my garden today.  Even though it was quite a bit of work, it was relaxing work ~ unlike the remodeling project going on inside.  😉

~Gardening is my therapy~

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Adventures in Gardening Part 31 ~ That Thieving Squirrel: The Epic Battle Continues…

Well, my battle with that thieving squirrel continues.  He is still up to his evil diabolical schemes and clearly thinks my potting bench makes a nice dinner table.  It seems like every day when I go out to check on things, I find new and incriminating evidence of his evil deeds…Notice that plastic wrapper and little strip of paper laying nearby?  It’s from a fortune cookie.  Evidently he also enjoyed some Chinese take-out while sitting there chomping away on my cucumber!

I’m pretty sure he left this message just to stick it to me…Apparently, he sees my delicious garden vegetables as an “opportunity” to get a free meal, but I definitely don’t ever recall going and knocking on his door and inviting him over for dinner!  He’s just lucky I’ve had such a bountiful harvest of cucumbers and haven’t noticed much of an impact from his thievery, or he would notice the impact of my fiery wrath.

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But he’s also eating all my tomatoes.  Yes, all!  And unlike my bumper crop of cucumbers, my tomatoes have been struggling quite a bit, so I’m not getting very many of them.  I think we’ve eaten one so far.  One!  And the squirrel… all the rest!  And it’s always just as they are starting to ripen.  Ew look at this disgusting fly!  Flies are so gross!   This is a pretty nice shot I got of one though…~

That thieving squirrel has also stolen the last 2 ripe strawberries off of my strawberry plant.  😦

I saw him the other day in another part of the yard and his tummy looked big and fat, so my daughter’s scenario of him being just a poor innocent hungry little creature trying to survive out there in the wild is totally inaccurate!  I know he’s out there rubbing his grubby little paws together plotting his next attack!

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But on the bright side ~ there’s always a bright side…

This special surprise arrived in my garden the other day ~ all the way from Kentucky!  Some dear long distance friends sent me a snippet from their Trumpet Vine to try growing here in Minnesota to help attract butterflies and hummingbirds to my garden.  🙂I put it in a pot temporarily and will plant it in the ground in the fall when the weather is a little cooler.  Hope it grows!  Thanks so much Patty & Allan!  ♥

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And even though she’s back in town now, I’m still enjoying plant sitting my sis’s outdoor plants ~ including her lovely Gazanias…

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I sure am glad squirrels don’t eat flowers…

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 30 ~ Bounty & Babysitting

At the end of my last gardening post I mentioned that I was getting ready to make some of my delicious refrigerator pickles from the bounty of cucumbers I am having.  Thought I’d share a photo that I took of them.  I don’t know about you, but not only is an ice cold drink refreshing on a hot summer day, but so are some tangy refrigerator pickles as well!The recipe I have used for years to make these is from the Kerr Kitchen Cookbook Home Canning and Freezing Guide because it’s quick, simple, and delicious!

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I’m also looking forward to rustling up something yummy with my jalapeno peppers that are ready.  Take a look at these little beauties!I don’t have enough to make my jalapeno poppers with, but I have a couple other new recipes up my sleeve that I’m itching to try.  🙂

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My tomatoes are finally starting to ripen.  It’s about freaking time!  Just starting to see a hint of orange on this one…Sadly, my tomatoes don’t seem to be doing all that well and I’m not sure why.  I knew I probably wasn’t going to get enough from only 2 plants to make my salsa with, but I had hoped I’d end up with more than what I’ve got so far.    😦

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My one lone strawberry plant is really living up its name as “ever bearing” ~ it just keeps on going with its lovely little blossoms and sweet-tart berries.If I ever have enough room to plant more strawberry plants, this will definitely be the variety I will choose.

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And speaking of “lovely little blossoms” here are some delicate lavender colored blossoms that are flowering on my mint plant.My mint had a rough start because the bugs were nibbling on it quite a bit, but it sure is looking happy now.  🙂

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My sis is on vacation for 2 weeks and brought some of her outdoor plants over to my mom’s house for me to babysit while she’s gone.  She brought them over there because she figured it would be easier for me to take care of them while I’m outside at my mom’s tending to my garden, rather than for me to have to make an additional, separate stop at her place each day.  I say “the more, the merrier” and she can just keep them all there permanently for me to enjoy!  😉

She brought over a hanging flower basket that her husband got for her that has such a bright, pretty assortment of colors.~

And some weird looking plant called Horehound that she says she’s going to make her own cough remedy with.  My sis likes to imagine herself as a mad scientist sometimes.  😉~

This is some mystery plant she got from a neighbor who brought it from Brazil.~

Hmm… these 2 mints of hers very well might be all snipped naked by the time she gets home because they want to become tea for me.  😉~

And I’m totally loving these gorgeous Gazanias of hers too…~

See what I mean?  Can’t blame me for wanting to keep all of these!  There are a few other randoms that she brought over as well, along with a couple of things that I even re-potted for her because I’m such a wonderful little sister.  I haven’t even stolen anything out of her closet when I’ve stopped over there to bring in her mail.  😉

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 29 ~ Cuckoo for Cucumbers

I’m just so happy that my cucumbers are doing so well!  I had hoped they would!  Ya know, you plant a garden with so much hope, but you just never know what’s going to happen.  Between the pests, diseases, and the weather… you can only do so much yourself to work to ensure a healthy and bountiful garden.  I had some disappointments and heartbreaks early on (gosh, remember my disgusting looking bug eaten spinach in Part 17?), and the growing season isn’t over yet, so I’m sure there may be more potential bummers on the gardening horizon, but here at the end of July with my cucumbers flourishing like this ~ all I can feel right now is anticipation and excitement!

However, I am still dealing with that pesky critter I mentioned in my last post, which I’ve now identified as being that evil diabolical squirrel who was frequenting my garden early on in Part 11.  I was sitting out on the patio talking to my sis on the phone and enjoying the view of my garden when I eye spied it making off with one of my cukes.  That little thief had one in its mouth!  I ran over to it and thought of spraying it with the hose, but it was a quick little beast and escaped my watery wrath.  Made me wish I had laser beams I could just shoot from my finger tips to zap that little sucker with.

The next day when I went out to check on things after the rain stopped, I found this on my potting bench…You can even see pieces of the skin scattered there on the ground below.  That horrible evil little creature must have just been leisurely sitting there on my potting bench munching away without a care in the world, having a feast on MY cucumber!  Grrr!

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My sis says she heard that you should always count on about 1/3 of your garden going to the pests, but I don’t have acres of gardens anymore ~ my tiny garden is only 4 x 8, so I don’t have much to spare.  And I’m certainly not wanting to share my harvest with thieving little rodents!  But unless I sit out there 24/7 there isn’t much I can do about it.  And even if I could, what would I do, sit out there with a pellet gun and take target practice?  When it comes down to it, I could never harm a little animal, even if it is an evil diabolical squirrel stealing from my garden that totally deserves it.  😉

And anyway, look… I still have a nice sized little bunch for myself. 

And more on the way…🙂

I don’t have quite enough to can pickles with, but I’m getting ready to make up a batch of my delicious refrigerator pickles.  Yummm…

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 28

Everything is going well in the garden.  🙂

In fact… it’s a jungle out there!Haha it just looks like a mass of green foliage ~ you can barely tell where one plant ends and another begins from this angle.

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But upon closer investigation…

You can see that my pepper plant is growing nice and strong, and is completely packed full of peppers!~

And I’ve got tons of jalapenos too!  Although you can’t really tell from this shot. It’s getting quite difficult to get in there for photos because everything is so crowded.  🙂~

My cucumbers are exploding and flourishing upon the new lattice panels and wiring my sis and I put up.  There are so many little cukes developing all over these vines, it’s absolutely wonderful!~

We’ve been eating lots of them too ~ such a tasty treat!~

Unfortunately some critter has been sampling some of them too.  I found these two casualties laying discarded underneath my trellis.  😦  I was pretty ticked off about this too because just the day before I had decided to leave these two on the vine for just one more day to grow, and then I go out to pick them and find that something nibbled off the skins and ate the insides, then left the rest for the bugs to come and feast upon as well.  Grrr…~

And I’m afraid my tomatoes are in trouble.   I’ve never dealt with this before and I’m not sure why this would happen, but I think they’ve got something called blossom end rot.  I’ve been reading up on how to remedy it, so I hope I can.  Wish me luck.  Ew these look disgusting…~

But my beans are coming right along.  Although I don’t think they’re getting enough sun because their leaves are lightening a little.  Also, I had expected them to be ready to pick by now and they’re just not plumping up very much. ~

I blame the zucchini.  It’s such a garden hog.  But it’s hard to complain when we’ve been gobbling up zucchinis galore!  And if you’ve been reading my gardening posts, you know of my love for zucchini.  🙂
We’ve been eating them up so quickly in fact that I don’t even have a photo of one to show you…

(insert zucchini photo ;))

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And two blooming beauties that are at peak right now..

My mom’s wonderfully fragrant phlox ♥Happy birthday Mindi! ♥

And her hostas  I swear I’ve never realized or appreciated the loveliness of hosta as much as I have this year…

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 27 ~ Crazy Cukes & Zukes

I can’t control my cucumbers!  My little A-frame trellis, although a clever device, can’t contain them.  I probably should have only planted them on one side of the trellis so they could grow up and then over the other side, but I was greedy.  I wanted as many cucumbers as possible growing in my little garden so that I could maybe get enough to can some pickles.  I also wanted to plant at least two different varieties so I could see which I liked better ~ not all cukes are created equal, and there are tons of varieties.

As it is, they now have nowhere to go once they reach the top of the trellis and will get too crowded if I allow them to grow over the other sides.  They are also growing outward horizontally trying to take over the rest of my garden, and hanging out over the sides of my box with nothing to cling to.  Don’t get me wrong… as I said, I want as many cucumbers as I can get, so it is a good thing that they are growing so well, but it also means I have to come up with something so they can continue to grow happily and healthily, and without taking over the rest of my tiny garden.

It’s been hella hot here and I hate the heat.  But what did I do?  I picked THE hottest day out of the bunch (102, which is not common here in Minnesota) and built a contraption to try and help my cukes along.  I enlisted the assistance of my sis (my partner in crime and gardening adventures ;)) and together we came up with a temporary solution.

It’s interesting the way your mind sorts through things and the ideas that come up when trying to figure out something.  Because it was so hot outside we wanted to find something that would be fairly quick and easy to do, but also something that would be a good solution and look semi nice.

So we popped into home depot and picked up a couple of wood lattices and tacked them to the sides of my garden box.  Then we took some of the leftover wire that I had from building my trellis and draped it over the top and down the sides along the outsides of them…

The thought is, that now they can grow up through the top, spread out over, and go down along the outsides.  They can also grab onto the insides of the lattice and then go through to the outsides and go up or down from there.  Hopefully this will do the trick.  I’m sure I’ll have to putz with them quite a bit to try and train them up in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.  😉  The little buggers really do have minds of their own.

A huge thanks to my sis for helping me with this.  It was unbearably hot out there and she hates the heat even more than I do.  Over the years she has taught me so many things and helped me with (and through) a lot, this is just one more thing to add to the list, but it is not taken for granted and is greatly appreciated.  She’s the best big sis in the whole wide world!   ♥

Here are just a couple of the gazillions of cucumbers that are growing on my vines…

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And I’m sure this guy (along with his friends and relatives) are one thing helping those gazillions of cukes along.  Sooo happy to see bees in my garden!  🙂~

In the subtitle of this post I also mentioned zukes and this is why.  Found this bad boy hiding under one of my zucchini’s giant solar panel leaves…My arms aren’t long enough and I couldn’t zoom out far enough to even get the whole thing in this photo.  So I laid in on the patio table, but you still can’t tell how big it is…When I brought it inside to show my mom she rocked it in her arms like a baby and kissed it!  Haha!  Guess who is making zucchini bread?  THIS girl!  🙂

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Aside from my crazy cukes and zukes, in other gardening news…

I was excited to see my first bell pepper developing!  I didn’t even notice as I was snapping this shot that there was a little visitor there on the stalk next to it.  That would have freaked me out!  I can’t tell what it is, but hopefully he’s one of the good guys…~

And speaking of peppers, I was also excited to see a few little jalapenos growing too…~

Look at my beans!!!  Not so tiny anymore.  I can’t wait to eat them!~

On the blooming front…

One of my garden’s companions.  Yep, it’s just an ordinary Marigold, no big deal, but I thought it was pretty.  🙂~

Found some sweet, pretty little buds developing on one of my mom’s phlox.

And one of them on the other side of her house is blooming…~

Gosh, who knew Hosta were so lovely…~

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 25 ~ First Pickin’s

♫ “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it.” ♫

Just picked my first zucchini!  It’s a bit odd shaped, but I’m sure it will still be yummy, and I can’t wait to eat it!  There are TONS more out there growing too ~  maybe those overly gigantic leaves of theirs act as some sort of solar panels.  😉~

I also picked my first handful of lettuce and used it in the BLT’s my mom made for supper!  It was pretty tasty!  And not an ant or an aphid were to be found.  🙂~

Finally… the first blooms on my jalapeno peppers.~

And look!  My cucumbers are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and hanging down through the trellis.  That’s gonna make for some easy pickins later.  It’s not so easy however, to get them to climb properly up my trellis.  I have a feeling they are going to become somewhat of a jungle and get completely out of control over time.  But hey, as long as they yield me some delicious cukes, I’m not gonna complain!   ♫ “I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.” ♫  ~

Here are some colorful coleus that I have growing in one of my pots.  So pretty!~

And I noticed today that one of the varieties of Hosta that my mom has growing is starting to develop buds ~ looks like these are going to be a pale pinkish lavender color.  How lovely… ~

~Gardening is my therapy~