A bumper crop of gourds. It’s the one crop that flourished this year, despite little attention. Now, I can’t complain. With my wonderful group of waterers, everything in the garden survived The Great Summer Catastrophe of 2012, but because I fractured my knee in the beginning of the gardening season proper, and wasn’t able to tend to anything all of July and most of August, it wasn’t a terrific year.
I did have a respectable crop of green beans, a gorgeous purple and green striped Swiss variety that I loved so much last year, and my tomatoes and peppers are coming along slowly like everyone else’s in the PNW. Strawberries were good; fall raspberries are coming on now. I had marvelous gooseberry, currant, and haskapberry crops; elderberry and tayberry had problems with pollination. I managed to freeze pounds and pounds of purchased cane berries, so I’ve got plenty for jam, but using my own cucumbers for pickles wasn’t even a possibility, given the failure of the soaker hose in that row.
But what grew wonderfully in all my carefully planned food garden beds, besides the tangling vines of anxiety? Gourds. I had bought a bunch last fall to enjoy before turning them over to the squirrels, who promptly took them to the soft, leafy, garden beds, and, well, planted them. The plants sprung up early and took advantage of the early heat spike in June, then managed to crowd out all the squash I actually wanted to grow: pumpkins, Oregon heirloom sweetmeat, romanesco zucchini and plain crookneck summer squash, and saddest of all, farmer Paul Atkinson’s special sweetmeat-like squash that I loved last winter. I was so thrilled when a friend gave me a few cherished seeds, so I planted them twice, only to have the crows demolish them before they even got a chance to grow. Grand total of the entire squash bed: four zucchini, one the size of a baseball bat.
And dozens of inedible gourds.
I’ve found a few recipes online for eating them, but quite frankly, I already have a giant baseball bat zucchini, I don’t want any more woody, tasteless cucurbit flesh, thanks.
So, come harvest, I’ll be the one with the highly decorative porch. This is the first of many glamour shots.