Friday, June 22, 2012

Cucumbers Among the Weeds

I decided to take a break from cleaning out the grass and weeds from the path leading up the hill.  Uprooting a colony of ants can have that sort of effect on a person, after all!

Understand, I don't suffer from myrmecophobia, or anything.  My nervousness around ants is perfectly rational.  I don't scream, nor do I run.  I simply have a healthy cautiousness around tiny little creatures that have a talent for biting me and producing itchy bumps that I scratch for days afterwards.

Causing the temporary upheaval of an entire civilization of arthropods seems to be a good reason to stay at a distance for a while.  The peacemaking process can begin later.

Instead, I decided to plant a few bush cucumbers that I bought at a local nursery (This one is called Donahue's).  There was a 40% off sale, storewide, and the temptation to buy even more plants was overwhelming.  Normally, I can resist this temptation, but I really love cucumbers, and the ones I've seen for sale at the grocery stores here just don't appeal to me... they feel soft, rather than crunchy.

I went off to the wild area of the yard and opened up two new sections of soil near the grey zucchini, which, by the way, is producing huge amounts of flowers now!

Remember, I'm trying to garden with nature, rather than against it, so I allow wildflowers to grow where they want, unless they're encroaching on what I've planted... or on my garden path.  I do trim the wild plants, but I try to stay away from plucking them by the root unless I'm planting in the specific area that they happen to be at.

So two (1.5' diameter) circles of soil were all that I touched.  I also added additional soil, since bush cucumbers prefer to be grown in mounds.  I transplanted them, being careful to leave the native "weeds" in between the mounds alone.

The cucumber mounds are situated near the zucchini,
which can be seen at the bottom of this photo.


I know this seems a little crazy to most people.  "Get rid of those nasty weeds!" is what a few of you are probably saying.  I've noticed, however, that gardening with mother nature, rather than against her, actually produces some very favorable results.  I end up with fewer pests... or even none, at all.  The soil retains more moisture.  Plants grow higher.

I don't use fertilizer.  Instead, I allow dead leaves and plants to lie where they fall.  The decomposition process feeds nutrients into the soil, keeping my transplants perfectly happy.

This is the process that I will continue to use on my cucumbers.  I can't wait to see how much they'll grow over the next few weeks!  They're small now, but soon they'll be glorious!

Unless, of course, the cucumbers are sensitive to black walnut toxicity.  Cross your fingers for them!





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