……or in our case a cucumber… what, you may ask, am I on about… well again this year we have an abundance of cucumbers. Turn up here and you are likely to hear on leaving… ”lovely to see you, have a cucumber”.
It’s only our second year of growing veg and for a second year I have got it wrong on how many cucumber plants we actually need.
I have always loved gardening, I have always been very garden proud, but veggies never featured. Why? Well I had a dad who grew them. Apart from sweet-peas and dahlias grown purely for mum, dad only did veg. Looking back as a child we always had a very heathy veg garden, at one house we had over 17 fruit trees. Then there were 3 uncles who all grew fruit and veg. Every year there was a discussion between them on who was growing what so there was never a glut but a steady and seemingly endless supply of fresh fruit and veg.
I was never allowed anywhere near the veg gardens or in later years the poly tunnels. They were the Old Boy’s domain and woe betide you if you ever went near or tried to influence him. Why have swiss chard when you have spinach? Sweetcorn he didn’t like and as for pak choi…well just don’t go there.
I knew something was wrong with him when he stopped going into the poly tunnels. I tried to keep things going but the care they both required towards the end took over from everything and that included the tunnels. So after last year, Best Mate and I took it upon ourselves to start again. Bloody hell the overgrown mess we first had to battle through.
It was the blind leading the blind. We watched Gardeners World every week… with a lot of “Arrh” when the delightfully handsome Monty Don told us viewers the best way to do whatever, when we had done the complete opposite. Every row of seed was lined out straight but sprouted out in wonky lines. I have knelt before the seedlings alter only to wonder “is it a seed or a weed”? I open and water the tunnels in the morning while Best Mate does the evening shift. My runner beans ran everywhere, the sweetcorn were so tall they bent over on the curve of the tunnel. Mr Don’s tomatoes may have been cleared of leaves leaving a lovely healthy straight plant, mine were plucked to within an inch of their lives and growing in every direction but straight. I point blank refused to buy a pair of nasal hair scissors to thin out one’s grapes as demonstrated by Mr Don. While 6 cucumber plants proved to be 5 too many. They grew, they fruited and fruited and fruited, recipe upon recipe was found and tried. One visitor left here with 8 having said they had a lovely recipe for a cold cucumber soup… marvellous! 8 down only another 15 to go.
This year started well, then the snow hit and the drift was too deep to get to the tunnels so our tender and just growing seeds died. However some of those planted direct didn’t die but came up late after the next crop had gone in. There is a lone sweetcorn growing through the sweet peas. Lettuce have sprouted just about everywhere. There is a tomato plant amongst the potatoes, while the chilli tree is lost amongst the peas. But my lines of spring onions, beetroot, chard, lettuce and more are straight, but as my school reports would always say “she could do better”. I panicked when I thought I had lost all my cucumber plants. I confused them with the courgette seedlings and sowed more. So I’m back up to six bloody cucumber plants, boy are they fruiting and I still don’t like cold cucumber soup. Finally I did relent and purchased a pair of nasal hair scissors…….I may have looked a complete prat thinning out my grapes but boy do I have 9 lovely bunches…