Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow. . .

Growing up in the middle of suburbea I never really gave much thought about summer gardens or vegetables or weeds or fertilizer or rototillers or aphids. I never really had to. I lived in a world of ignorant bliss where summer's bounty was readily available at the local Kroger store (with an abundantly stocked Kroger produce section), and from a guy selling fresh peaches and tomatoes in a little roadside stand on the way to the mall. I never had to give a second's thought about plowing, or when to plant, or when the last frost had come, or how much fertilizer to use; and I never had to worry about when it might rain, or whether the 100+ degree temps were going to fry my seedlings. My biggest concern about gardening and "harvest time" was deciding whether to use paper or plastic in the checkout line. During those carefree days as a young teenager, the most important summer activity involved suntanning at the local pool and deciding whether to use Johnson's baby oil or Coppertone Coconut Oil. (And, for the record, my current dermatologist hates me for using either one.)
It's not that I never heard about farming or gardening, it's just that I never had to do any. Once, however, I came close, when I was invited by a friend to drive to east Tennessee to help her family harvest their potato crop: "Sure, I'll help y'all pick potatoes! Will we be using paper or plastic?" I soon discovered that neither paper nor plastic was on the day's agenda, but garden spades and wheelbarrows, and mushy dirt (aka mud), and ants, and lots and lots of sweat. I also discovered that potatoes do not grow on trees or even bushes, but in the ground, of all places! Thus began and ended my early farming career.

So now that I'm a grown-up and I live out in the middle of nowhere on a farm in rural Georgia, my Tennessee family thinks it's quite interesting and a little amusing that I even have a garden, let alone work in it. It's not a huge, feed-the-world-sized garden, but one just large enough to suit our family's needs. Surprisingly, I discovered that I actually enjoy playing the role of "Farmer Jane." Some years we've experimented with things like heritage watermelons and winter squash, but mostly we plant the old standby vegies like beans (if the deer will cooperate) and tomatoes (if the blossom rot will cooperate) and corn (if the crows will cooperate) and okra (if the aphids will cooperate.) And we always plant my all-time favorite summer vegetable, yellow squash. This year was no exception, and during the spring we bought 8 tender seedling squash plants from a local distributor, and put them into the ground. The plants grew and thrived and began to have blossoms. I'm no expert, but I noticed that these plants looked a bit different than I remembered from previous years. Now, I may not have a rich heritage of farming in my blood, and I don't have much of a green thumb unless I'm using green paint, but I do know that when you plant 8 squash seedlings, this. . . r or plastic at the checkout line in the grocery store,

. . . is not what you expect to grow. This is what we city-girls call a cucumber. But hey, what do I know? I once thought that potatoes grew on trees.

14 comments:

Sweet William Primitives said...

Hello Cathy! Those cucumbers are beautiful! We garden too... Have you ever made bread & butter pickles or freezer pickles?
They make the kitchen smell just wonderful! And better yet, they taste great!yummmm...! Let me know if you need a recipe! Summer blessings!~Kathy

TattingChic said...

Yum! Those cucumbers look delicious! I'm GREEN with envy! (Get it, 'Green')

Thimbleanna said...

Hmmm. Very interesting. Squash pickles? Pickles squash??? Oops! That's pretty funny. I'm guessing you're going to have a LOT of cucumbers??? They're beautiful!

Suzanne said...

Great job on those cukes! Potatoes growing on trees?...that's not how we grow them here in Idaho! :-)

Bone*Head*Studios said...

AHAHAHA!!!, that sure don't look like no kinda summer squash I ever saw!!?? ahahaha!! we once bought some beefsteak tomatoes one year, I LOVE FRESH tomatoes, but much to my chagrin, we some how ended up with cherry tomatoes!!
Which is fine too, but not beefsteak!!!we were blessed to have sweet golden corn, snap peas,
cucumbers ,okra, cherry and big beautiful tomatoes, this year thanks to our dear friend Mrs. Dorothy. There isn't anything like fresh veggies!!!
blessings,Flora

twinklescrapbooks said...

This is my first year ever to grow a garden since I was a kid. There is something so calming about getting your hands in the dirt. And I look forward to eating my veggies now since I grew them. :)
tina

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I know they will taste so yummy...hugs...m.

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

It continues to be a great mystery. A case of false labeling. Or perhaps the seedlings were switched at birth in the nursery. Or I need to wear reading glasses when shopping. The world may never know.

Tipper said...

I enjoyed this post-made me smile more than once.

EnlightenedByAngels said...

They may not be yellow summer squash, but those cucumbers look delicious!

Just stopped by to say Hi and thanks for visiting my blog and for the warm welcome to blogland. BTW I love this blog! You have a wonderful way of telling stories.

Prim2Pink said...

I think what you have there are what we call ZUCCINI squash! If you peel them & grate them, they make the best muffins!
Judy

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

We sliced one. The verdict: yep, definitely a cucumber.
:)

Jann said...

Loved the post--thanks for the smiles--hope you enjoyed your beautiful "squash"--

retail jobs said...

I really love eating cucumbers!!! In fact, I love making cucumber salad with carrots and pineapple chunks at home. Yummy!!!