Friday, April 06, 2007

I know what you did last summer


I've mentioned before that we grew some edible flowers, Sakata Sweet melons, and Tigger melons last year.

Here are a few of the other things we tried for the first time.

Plum Granny.
Supposed to be an heirloom "pocket" melon. (Somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a clementine.) I read that they were grown primarily for scent. They're so bland as to be inedible. They did smell great, but weren't as strong as I'd hoped. Nothing approaching the scent level of daffodils, say. It may vary with growing conditions but I doubt I'll try them again. Some little critters definitely like to eat them -- I think it was the most munched-on thing in the garden.

Japanese eggplant.
We liked these much better than traditional eggplants. They seemed less likely to grow bitter, and were more versatile for cooking just because of their size. We'll definitely grow these again.

Triamble squash.
A winter squash. I ordered these seeds purely based on the look of the pictures, which were idealized to say the least. Still, it's an interesting looking vegetable. But hard, hard, hard to cut. It tastes good, and keeps forever, but I really should have realized that ten-pound squashes were a little much for two people.

Top view.

Profile view.
These were really picked too soon. (The stem should be dry first.)

I couldn't find a picture, but we also grew lemon cucumbers. I was under the impression that they had a lemony taste, but the name just refers to the size (and color, somewhat). They tasted good enough, but did get bitter sometimes. Plus they have tiny hairs or spines that were difficult to rub off. And they didn't keep well at all -- one day, tops. So, back to white cucumbers for me.

If last year was the year of melon experimentation, this will be the year of the squash! More on that later.


lime said...

those triamble squashes are certainly pretty looking things. so are the pocket melons. pity they didn't taste like much.

looking forward to hearing how your experiments turn out.

robin andrea said...

It's funny, I thought lemon cucumbers would taste like lemons too. Very disappointing. You'd think someone like ADM would mix a few genes together and give us a real lemon cuke (just kidding, of course).

We inadvertently planted hubbard squash last year instead of butternut. Much too big for two people, and not anything I would freeze.

Alan said...

Those look like the Ichiban eggplant. I've grown those before and they are very productive. I'm growing this agains this year, but only two of them. The half-dozen plants I put in last time gave us more than we could eat by a large margin. Ended up giving most of them away.


anne said...

I love gardening! I'm looking forward to having one again this year - no classes this summer, so I should have more time to take care of it than I did last summer.

When I lived overseas (Sri Lanka), the only cucumbers (called "pee-peenya") available were large and yellow. I wonder if that's what they were calling lemon cucumbers?

Lovely photos, per usual.

Cathy said...

Oh yeah. Those winter squash scare me. If you aren't careful that hard skin(rind?) can send the knife ricocheting in the wrong direction. Still, I like the idea of them and I'm glad you're planning a garden. Hard to imagine from our frozen vantage point.

Ki said...

The melon looks great. More like a toy ball than a fruit or is it a fruit? Weird looking squash but too bad it didn't keep.

Rurality said...

Lime, the Sakata Sweets were wonderful but did not germinate that well. May be just too hot here.

RA, I think I'm going to try a couple of very small one- or two-serving squashes, I'll let you know how they go. (I had that thought briefly too about the lemony cukes!)

Alan, that's probably right. I think the label on ours just said "Japanese". We had one of those and two regular eggplants so we had a lot too.

Anne, these weren't that big when ripe, although they do get big if you let them go. Guess how I know that. :)

Cathy lots of people already have their garden in, but we're going to have 3 nights below freezing so they may be replanting.

Ki, the squash kept, it was the lemon cukes that didn't. The tigger melons looked the coolest, but they didn't have much taste either.

carolyn choi said...

Just discovered your blog and found that you live in my old
" neck of the woods " . As you said "Rurality " takes some getting used to but it seems you've adapted very well.

For me, going from rurality to urbanality ( is there such a word ?) was just as trying.

I'm enjoying reading your posts , which make me long for home.

Floridacracker said...

That squash might be worth it just for it's appearance.
Looking forward to what's going in the RuraLab Experimental Garden this season.

megabeth said...

How do heirloom veggies (and tomatoes) hold up against pests and fungus? I would like to try something different than the usual. I covered my plants this weekend with clear plastic and so far, they haven't died.

Rurality said...

Carolyn I see you are in Chicago -- I guess that is quite an adjustment. :)

FC, it ain't no fun if you can't experiment!

Beth, some of the heirlooms do ok but not tomatoes, at least not for us. None of the "exotic" types we grew had any problems. We used regular fertilizer because we couldn't find anything organic locally. But we didn't spray or anything.

Later in the season we had some bug problems on just about everything except okra and eggplants. Actually bugs ate a lot of the eggplant leaves but it didn't seem to bother the growth at all!

We grew pinkeye peas and the bugs were just getting started on them when they were finishing up so that worked out ok. If we'd done succession planting with them we'd have been in trouble I guess.

KFarmer said...

Have you ever heard of yellow zucchini? I saw it on a cooking show and had never heard of it before-

karrie said...

The melon is gorgeous--too bad it is bland. Unfortunately,I do not have space for a full garden where I live (Boston) but have high hopes for an eventual tiny roof garden.

Have you bought anything from Seeds of Change? My mother is in Vermont, and I sent her several heirloom veggies to try.

Rurality said...

KF, I've seen them in the catalogs (Gold Rush and Sebring) but haven't tried them. I'm ordering a bi-color straightneck squash, Zephyr. It's green on the end. :) Supposed to taste very good. I'm also getting Costata Romanesco (an heirloom Italian zuke), which I bought last summer at the farmer's market and loved. Plus some others. They will be running out my ears, I'm sure.

Karrie, I've heard good things about that company but haven't bought from them. But speaking of Vermont, I got an interesting catalog from the Vermont Bean Seed company. I don't even like beans that much and I wanted to order half of what they sell. :)