30 August 2010

Gardening, Accidental and Otherwise

I harvested my first butternut squash today.


The funny thing is that I never intentionally planted any. The composted alpaca manure I used to fill the raised beds for raspberry and sweet potato just happened to have some squash remains that had been thrown on the pile. So I ended up with three totally unplanned vines that have spread over a big chunk of the sideyard and over the compost pile. This one is growing between the slats of one of the pallets we have to enclose the compost.


Not quite sure how I'm going to cut it out of there. And then there's the third variety.


I also have a little stand of sunflowers that I think were planted by our resident chipmunk.


One crop I did plant that's been going at it gangbusters are my crowder peas. The description says they "have a tendency to vine in rich soils". Apparently my soil is very rich! They've been rather Jack-and-the-beanstalk-ish, and it's been sort of a constant effort to keep them trained up the rather strained poles I put up, rather than sprawling all over the walkway. I've already saved some early seeds for next year and expect I should have a decent little crop for eating by the end of season.


My tomato plants are also loaded with green tomatoes. I set them out a bit later than planned, so they've needed time to catch up, but I'm expecting they'll ripen up before frost hits. Long season crops are always a bit of a challenge here, but being by the ocean and having a south-facing hillside keeps us effectively as a USDA zone 7 microclimate, even though we're nominally zone 5 or 6, depending on which version of the map you reference. Since that designation only looks at minimum winter temps, though, we still run into the issue of a short season, but as with knitting, it's more about the process for me than the final product.


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

I too love that gardening is more about process than about eating - that's why we aren't frustrated or disturbed when there grows very little that's actually for the table. I love to water, plant, watch, look after, trim, and then whether or not they fruit tends to be of little concern.

Molly Bee said...

I hope I didn't harm your harvest by reading this post. I have such a black thumb that I can kill plants just by looking at their photos! Sorry!

Ryan said...

Love the photos!! Makes me wish I had gotten a little more gardening done this season but our weather was super-funky, broke both cold- hot-weather records. In the meantime, though, I can enjoy your hard work!

Lisa/knitnzu said...

Squashes are such volunteers... but if you have the room, it's a good thing!

Sheepish Annie said...

I do not like it when squash surprises me. I want to know when the squash is lurking about. I like crowder peas, though. They are welcome to sneak in any old time!

that's J-O-S-H said...

The restaurant I used to work at [read as: cry in the bathroom at] makes amazing butternut squash soup. They drizzle some brown butter on that shit, top it off with a twist of sage and then pour it down my fat gob until I become completely engorged and vomit it on the customerz.

Laurie said...

So funny about the squash! I always thought you needed a kickstart on the season by buying plantlets. Not so much from what you are showing.

Alwen said...

The best volunteer I ever had was a mini pumpkin that grew up the mulberry tree. It was so cool to find those little pumpkins hanging in a tree.

JoVE said...

This summer seems to have been a good one for squash. We love Butternut squash and plant it every year but had a bumper crop this year.

We are also big fans of plant it and see gardening. Seeds are pretty cheap. This year we got a lot of musk melons, for example (though some years they don't fruit)

Michelle M. said...

Your photos are inspiring me to go to the farmer's market.

That's a good looing butternut squash. What a happy accident : ).