Cool as a Cucumber

My garden exploded.

Seriously.

When I last documented, about six weeks ago, the garden looked like this: 

Mid-May, it looked like this:

 

Now, it looks like this:

Out of control!

Closeup – pole beans on the left and cucumbers on the right

Apparently, you’re supposed to prune and remove the weaker-looking plants to make room for the strong ones to grow.  I meant to do that, but then I got busy.  And I felt bad destroying some of the plants I had grown attached to.  Now, they’re all so intertwined that I definitely missed the window of opportunity.  I wouldn’t know where to start even if I wanted to take some out.

The first harvest was from the bush bean plants.  I’ve harvested from them twice, and they were delicious.  The pole bean plants have grown tremendously and are larger than the trellises, but they haven’t produced any actual green beans yet.

The herbs were also growing strong, and I was thrilled to snip some of my own homegrown basil to use in an appetizer for my dad’s birthday!  It was the absolute most Martha Stewart I’ve ever felt in my life.

Rachel Ray’s antipasti cups – super easy and a crowdpleaser

Then came the cucumbers.

Their leaves exploded pretty early, and I was excited to see the yellow flowers that I knew meant the cukes were close behind.  At the end of May, I was thrilled to see this little guy blooming.

Behind him were some tiny little guys that looked like those baby pickles seen in delis.  I had no idea how quickly they’d turn into monsters.

That was last Saturday, and today I harvested the rest of these:

My mom immediately asked what happened to the little guy on the right.  Here he is in action, growing up against the chicken wire that made him start curving around.

If you look closely in the pic above you can see the little spikes that grow on the outside of the cucumbers.  I had no idea this happened, but they help protect the fruit from insects.

So, now I have an insane amount of cucumbers.  Thankfully, I took a cooking class recently that included a Thai cucumber salad with peppers, carrots, onion, and an herb trio (basil, cilantro, and mint) that was to die for.  I made a big batch of it earlier this week and have been enjoying some with every lunch this week.  I also sliced some up to eat drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, and sprinkled with chili powder.  

I also snipped some parsley and dill today to make Paleomg’s herb-crusted salmon.  Ridiculously easy and delish! Here’s a quick rundown of the herbs growing in the cinder block holes around the perimeter of the garden.  I’m a little worried that the gigantic cucumber and pole bean leaves are going to shade them too much from continuing to grow, so I have another little project planned for more herbs coming up this weekend.  In the meantime, here’s what I currently have growing.

oregano

 

thyme

 

dill

 

basil

 

a little sage peekin’ through

There you have it!  I’ll have pics of my herb project for you soon.  In the meantime, I’ll just be here snacking on sliced cucumbers, enjoying the Thai cucumber salad, and drinking cucumber water.  Let me know if you have any recipes I need to try, and if you’re local and want to come steal some cucumber, give me a ring!


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