#dirtclods2015: The Cucurbits

20th April 2015

Southern Fried Soprano - Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have I ever told y’all how much I love the plant family Cucurbitaceae?

In case you didn’t know, this plant family gives us all sorts of wonderful garden goodies. Cucurbits include things like pumpkins, gourds, squashes, cucumbers, and zucchini. Do you like watermelon? Check it out. It’s a cucurbit.

Needless to say, these are all things I love to eat. (You’ll hear more about my affinity for all things pumpkin in the fall, probably.) They are also all things I had trouble harvesting last year.

… Except for one cucumber. Here’s a picture. Cucumber!

I’m still proud as punch of this cucumber.

Last year, I got a pretty late start with most of the things I attempted to grow–and I grew everything but my peppers from seed, which means I got a REALLY late start when you consider how long it takes things like pumpkins and gourds to mature.

I didn’t have much luck with pumpkins, gourds, squashes, or watermelons last summer.

I bought squash plants–which promptly died. I bought a little watermelon seedling. It died.

I sowed watermelon seeds at least twice. Seedlings never survived.

I bought squash and pumpkin seeds… which grew beautifully. And then were invaded by SQUASH VINE BORERS. Every single one of my beautiful, thriving squash plants–each and every pumpkin vine… all destroyed. I probably spent an hour crying after I tossed the infested plants over the backyard fence.

I’m trying not to let the trauma of last season prevent me from planting squash and pumpkins again for this year, but I can’t help but feel tentative as I put my little seedlings in their pots. Fingers crossed.

What varieties am I growing this year? These are the ones already in the ground and growing (confession: I have some more seeds I should sow).

Pumpkins

– Early Sweet Sugar Pie: I love pumpkin pie.
– Jack o’Lantern: … what, you don’t want to carve pumpkins?

Winter Squash

Waltham Butternut – We’ll see if I ACTUALLY get any squash, considering a chipmunk seems to have taken to munching on my two little seedlings. I’ll probably direct sow a couple more seeds. I JUST WANT TO ROAST SOME BUTTERNUT SQUASH, OKAY?

Summer Squash

– Pic-and-Pic Hybrid: tried growing this dude last year. You know the story.. squash vine borers.

Cucumbers

– Picklebush. Okay. I hate cukes, but LOVE pickles. I just really love pickles. I even love the world ‘pickle’, quite frankly. This is a compact variety that’s supposed to be pretty prolific, so I’m hoping to make lots of pickles. I’m not sharing, either.

Zucchini

– Sure Thing Hybrid: I got this variety because it says that it “produces in unfavorable conditions” (re: Arkansas weather). We’ll see.

Watermelon

– Sugar Baby. Because I’m a glutton for punishment and I demand to have cute little icebox watermelons.

Do you grow any of these veggies in your garden? How much do YOU love pickles (probably not as much as me)?

  • Cucurbits is my new favorite word. I love eating these things. Who knew they had such a fun name?! Wishing you much success in growing them. Get lost, chipmunks!