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The other day I told you about our adventures with being a first time gardener. As I mentioned earlier, it has been a complete learning process. The garden has been growing since Mid-May and it seems never-ending. Not that I am complaining but, wow!
I didn’t think about planting everything according to how long it would take to reach harvest time. I also didn’t factor in the fact that we planted 3 vine plants. Yep! So our pumpkins, watermelon and cucumbers are taking over the yard. We try to redirect them but, you can’t always catch it in time. The pumpkin vines will root themselves into the ground and many times, it’s too late. You just have to suck it up and let it run.
Everything was growing at, what seemed like, a steady pace. On July 15th, we went on vacation to Washington D.C. and what we came back to was so exciting. The garden had gone nuts! We had just driven for 8 hours and it was about 95 outside. What did we do as soon as we got home? Well we started picking cucumbers of course! Who cared that we had stuff for 6 people to unload? Who cared that we were literally dripping in sweat? We didn’t! It was the funniest thing but, we were so proud of what we had made. The 4 boys were watching Patrick and I like we were insane. “I got one! Oh I found another one! Oh man here are more!” It was a nice way to end a long vacation.
After the excitement had settled, we wondered, what we were going to do with the 30 cucumbers that we picked? I love cucumbers and I can eat them like a banana. After about 5 days, I was sick of cucumbers. In those 5 days I probably picked 10 more. I didn’t think 3 plants would produce so many. Another lesson learned.
We started giving the cucumbers away. We shared them with all of our neighbors, family and really anyone who stopped by. Then Patrick made a good point. While we enjoyed sharing them with everyone, we were doing this for our family. We couldn’t give every last one away. So, I decided I was going to learn how to can. We already had some supplies because Patrick’s Mom was a canner years ago. While it isn’t a difficult thing to learn, it is definitely like the gardening. A lot of lessons learned.
I gathered up my purse and went to the store. I bought a book, bands, lids and some new jars. Am I really going to do this? Don’t I do enough around here already? I don’t have time to take on another “hobby” but, I do have time to have healthy food on hand for my family. Okay, here goes.. I’m doing this.
I am now a firm believer that you really can’t please a woman. I was semi-complaining about having so many cucumbers so, I mapped out making pickles. Dill pickles, polish pickles, burger pickles, bread and butter pickles. What happened next? I started semi-whining about being sick of making pickles. I really think it was more about the smell of the vinegar getting to me. But still, I am now sick of making pickles. This weekend I plan to make Relish. Yes I know, it’s still “pickles” but, at least it’s a different process.
What do you think happened after 25 jars of pickles? Patrick starting giving them away. I said, “Man,, weren’t you the one that was saying something about giving all these cucumbers away?” *insert completely smartass grin here* I can’t complain about it though. He said they were so good he wanted people to try them. I will take it as a compliment but dude, you’re giving my jars away. Guess he will have to buy me more, right?
The biggest challenge we have faced so far is growing Sugar Baby Watermelons. I have watched a million YouTube videos and read a ton of articles. Do you know how to tell when a Sugar Baby Watermelon is ripe? Cut it open. Some people tell you about the little curls dying off. Some mention this “spoon” leaf that grows. They are all wrong. Time is the only thing that you have. We picked 1 and when Patrick cut it open, it was pink inside but no where near close enough to eat it. So, into the woods for the animals it went. Tomorrow we are giving it another shot. Stay tuned for how that turns out!