July 20-21: Vines hiding all the good cucumbers

Note for next year’s garden: Remember to thin the cucumbers.

That they are so thick may be one of the reasons some of the cukes are getting bigger than I’d like them to. It’s difficult to see the cukes when they’re small — even when I turn over the vines and think I search really good, I miss a few.

By the time I do see them, they’re what we called “slicers” on the farm. They’re big and seedy, and don’t taste very good sliced and raw. If you pick cucumbers for money (like I did as a kid), you also learn quickly that the smaller the cuke, the more money it’s worth. Slicers brought in very little money. And Mom always knew that if there were a lot of slicers we weren’t doing our job searching for all the cukes under the vines.

We used a planter – a machine Dad pulled with a tractor – to plant cucumber seeds. It allowed the quarter-acre or more of seed to be planted in straight rows, and also allowed you to set the distance between seeds in those rows.

My method – sprinkling seed into makeshift rows – has resulted in too many cukes sprouting up next to each other. I’ve picked enough cukes to know how vine-y they can get, and I should have thinned them out once they came up. It would be difficult to thin them now because they have all grown together and are intertwined. I’m not sure I could rip out just a few here and there without taking out huge chunks.

It’s funny how, in the springtime, it can be hard to imagine how robust a garden will get as time passes by. It’s really easy to plant rows too close together because I see all that dirt in front of me and think “I really wanted to try (insert veggie here) this year. I should be able to squeeze in a few more seeds, right?” The garden looks so big and empty at planting time and dreams of fresh veggies sometimes throws logic out the door in terms of how it will fill in as the growing season progresses.

Anyway, this is an official reminder to myself. Make sure to thin out the cukes next summer.

I hoped I’d get some weeding done this morning, too, but I misjudged the amount of time it took to pick the beans and raspberries.

I took me at least a half-hour to pick another two gallons of green beans. Those, along with the ones I picked earlier in the week, mean I’m going to be freezing most of them tomorrow.

As for the raspberries, I really didn’t think there were going to be very many because the last time I picked them, it looked like most that would ripen had done so. Well, the 4 inches of rain and a few below-90 days did wonders. Not only were there a lot berries (6 cups worth), but they were so big I couldn’t believe it. They took me almost an hour to pick. They’re very yummy, too, for those who wondered!

Tomatoes were the other big surprise of the day. Some of the plants are chock full of bigger tomatoes, including a Celebrity plant, of which I’ve included a photo. If they all ripen at once I’m going to have tomatoes coming out of my ears! Sister Marcie also will be happy to get extras to make sauce. Now if they’d just start turning red!

I also was able to right the other tomato plant that had tipped a bit during the rain and wind during the week. It took two additional stakes to get it even slightly righted. Even then, I’m not sure how long they’ll hold it up, especially if we get more wind.

I pulled the pumpkin vines away from the fence they had been climbing, and in doing so, got a good look at one of the pumpkins. It seems to be a pretty good size. Hope there are others, too.

The daily east and west photos end the blog today, as usual. In the photo looking west, you should notice the pumpkin vines aren’t as high as they have been. You might also be able to see the extra stake trying to hold up the tomato plant in the center of the photo.

Looking east:

Looking east.

Looking west:

Looking west.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Lookin good!

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