Garden Party: Lazy Late Update

Week Twelve

Hockey season has begun, so everything else has to squeeze in to the spare moments. Nothing much is going on with the garden, aside from a lot of eating, but some small developments are worth noting.

Chirimen. Apparently it is spelled that way. All this time I have been spelling it like one man, even with a little seed packet image stapled to the planter box. Ah well. I don’t say “zucchinis squash,” why should I say “chirimen?”

The chirimen has gone a little crazy. See? Doesn’t that sound totally wrong? Anyway, there are several plants so I can say the chirimen have gone nuts:

Chirimen gone wild.

Chirimen gone wild.

They have completely overwhelmed the neighboring carrots. All those blooms I saw on the plant have come to naught. They must have been some part of the pollination process. Other blooms, however, appeared on the branches that grew out beyond the planter box, crawling over the ground and even reaching the fence behind. Those blooms are turning into fruit.

Mid-sized chirimen, or so I thought.

Mid-sized chirimen, or so I thought.

I rejoiced to discover that fruit, as we are running low on zucchini. That must be why Mom always plants so many zucchini plants. Apparently four or five is not enough for a diligent zucchini eater. A few got away from me and grew to ridiculous sizes. A few spent too long in my quirky fridge and froze. I ate them all anyway. Waste not, want not.

With this shortage in mind, I was looking forward to having a new squash to eat.

Surely this guy is almost ready to cook?

Surely this guy is almost ready to cook?

Since the garden started producing, my understanding of how to get food has changed somewhat. Purchasing any sort of produce in a store no longer seems like an option. Hence the zucchini shortage. Of course, had I perused the produce section in a grocery store, I might have learned something about the plants I am growing. I don’t know for certain that any store in this area carries chirimen, but I don’t know they don’t either. This is what happens when you don’t shop for produce.

Itty bitty chirimen.

Itty bitty chirimen.

I did not shop much for produce before the garden either. I did not cook many vegetables. The garden has improved my diet immensely, and that was not even the plan. I just wanted to grow things. That is all well and good, but a little early information would have been even better.

Yesterday I googled chirimen to see how big they should get before harvest. Yes, only yesterday did I do that. According to my source, a site called DigTheDirt.com, they should take 91-100 days to mature. And they should weigh at least five pounds. FIVE POUNDS? What the heck did I plant, pumpkins? Oh, look, DigTheDirt has them listed right with pumpkins!

So that is terrifying.

We have started eating the peas. They have gotten a little ahead of us, some are starting to dry on the vine, but there are plenty left for snacks.

Abundant pods.

Pods aplenty.

While the chirimen are growing out of control, I was amused to notice that the zucchini have continued to follow the training I gave them.

Zucchini, good neighbors.

Zucchini, good neighbors.

The onions should appreciate that, if there are any onions in that mess of grass.

Back in the old garden, I started to despair over my melon farming. It isn’t hot enough for melons here, I am told. Add to that the late start I gave them, and the resident melon thief…

She is much sneakier than she looks.

This Labrador is much sneakier than she looks, and she will eat anything that smells even half way ripe.

…and I was ready to throw in the towel. Most of the most mature melons are only this far along:

They look like melons, but they are still small and the stems are still firmly attached.

They look like melons, but they are still small and the stems are still firmly attached.

After two season of trying, this was very disheartening. The days are getting shorter and I don’t even have time to give them enough water.

Success at last!

Success at last!

Note to self: never try growing melons again without installing a timed drip system. The fence I put up around the main patch has prevented theft by the dog, but each October day brings slower growth.

Yesterday I noticed that one melon had ants crawling over it. On closer inspection, I saw that its stem had pulled away. It did not look very different from the other melons but it was one of the largest ones. So I picked it up and washed it off. I cut it open to see how hopeless the situation was and found a perfectly delicious inside with only a few black spots seeping through the skin. I don’t know what those were but I cut them off, sliced up the remainder of the melon and stuck it in the fridge.

This neat and tidy plant produced about nine peppers.

This neat and tidy plant produced about nine peppers.

This success has not convinced me to grow melons again next year, as they take so long and need so much space.

Besides,  I have fallen in love with bell peppers. Bell pepper plants are so tidy and pretty. They don’t spread out all over the yard or grow up so high that they fall over. The fruit does take a long time to grow and a plant won’t produce as much as a tomato or squash, but they produce enough for me to eat.

Here is the last bell pepper of the season. Next year I hope to branch out into all four colors.

Last pepper of the season. Small but perfect in color and texture.

Last pepper of the season. Small but perfect in color and texture.

Speaking of automated drip systems, sometimes the timer goes kaplooey and that is not good. One of the beds containing transplanted melons has fallen victim to just that.

Sad melons.

Sad melons.

I would be more upset about this except that I had given up weeding the flowers and they were a mess. Also, this was the bed that the dog had been thieving from so none of the remaining melons were likely to make it to adulthood. Still, it is a good lesson. Keep an eye on anything powered by a battery. Why this timer keeps failing (this is the second or third time) and the other one goes on and on, I cannot guess.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s