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luffa

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…that problem being that the plant is HUGE and there are no luffas on it. (Yes, it’s the luffa/loofah like the sponge. It’s not a sea creature, it’s a GOURD! I know, amazing, right?)

I had 2 planted on this trellis, and I was kind of glad one ended up kicking the bucket, because this one is huge! It was planted at the same time as the 2 cucumbers next to it and there is no comparison. Well…except for the fact that the cucumber plants are actually making a lot of cucumbers.

cucumber

There are a lot of flowers on the luffa (which I only see in the AM (the flowers not the whole plant)) and there are always ants and other pollinators over there, but I have looked and looked and see no sign of actual fruit.

proof of pollintor

There are just little clusters of things that I assume are to-be-flowers (you can see them in the pic around the flower) at the ends of all the vines where the tendril out. Any ideas why there are no luffas? I was all excited about this plant! I planned to make some luffa sponges for gifts for xmas.

At least it makes pretty pictures...

Well, it’s June 27 as I’m writing this, and much has changed in the raised beds.

Bed 1 is basically unchanged. I’ve gotten 3 Early Girl tomatoes so far, with more on the way. Also a good handful of sungold tomatoes. Russian Rose and Better Boy are big and green, and I had to pull the only 3 Speckled Roman tomatoes so far because the had end blossom rot. I poured some spoiled milk on them, so hopefully that’ll add some calcium. The marconi peppers that are tucked in among the marigolds and zinnias are working on blooming and I’ve had many yummy mugs of hot tea using the pineapple and julep mint from the pots, and stevia from a pot on the next garden’s edge.
bed 1
sungold

Bed 2 got weird. It was supposed to be the pepper bed, but it’s not really any more. Once what I thought was peachy mama pepper seeds I had saved turned out to be pear tomato plants that I STILL SWEAR I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I GOT THE SEEDS FROM, I had to move some pepper plants because they were too crowded. So now that bed contains the mysterious pear tomatoes, some ground cherries (some of which are oddly slipping out of their dresses!) – I’ve eaten 3 or 4 so far and I like them!, carrots that got eaten by hornworms (most of which I just pulled), a few random tomatoes I got from a plant exchange, and a couple chili peppers. Tip: the ground cherries are ready when the husks turn brown and they either fall to the ground or pull off the plant without any pressure.
bed 2

ground cherry

immodest ground cherry


pear tomato

a wtf pear tomato

Bed 3 did have the peas, but I pulled those a few weeks ago. In their place, I planted some heirloom tomatoes my uncle gave me. This is now the real pepper bed, as this is where I moved the sweet red cherry, hot banana, habanero, jalapeno, and cayenne peppers I had to move from the other bed. At the far right are lots of different kinds of beans, most of which were shared from several other garden bloggers/tweeters. Next year I will plant more beans. This is enough to pick to add to a stir fry with other veggies, but not enough to really have beans as a full side dish (especially when you have a habit of eating them off the vine when you’re gardening!). Once the tomatoes really take off, I can’t wait to use those and these peppers to make my first fresh salsa of the season. One of my favorite things about summer!
bed 3

Bed 4 looks a little rough. I REALLY need to pull the black seeded simpson lettuce, but I’m procrastinating. I only got like 3 lettuce harvests this year, because we really didn’t have a spring. It went straight to 80°F it seems like, and the lettuce bolted and got bitter quickly. I pulled the mesclun long ago, but heard the simpson stayed good longer. Haven’t picked any since, though, since it’s been consistently in the 90s for a long time. In the place of the mesclun I planted some royal burgundy bush beans that needed a home and 2 green tomatillo plants that are still very small (but fruiting). There are 2 spacemaster cucumbers and one GIANT luffa. If I grow the luffa again next year (planning on drying them and using them as part of xmas gifts maybe), it’ll definitely be getting a bigger trellis. On the left behind the bush is a pot that has some non-hornworm-eaten carrots that I need to harvest.
bed 4

The old veggie garden is doing well, despite the fact that it gets watered rarely and we have had VERY little rain here (we haven’t had to cut the grass in like…3 weeks?) and it’s been hot as balls. The volunteer tomatoes are doing well but could use some better staking. I have one lone okra that is ready to pick, but what on earth do I do with one okra? I picked one zucchini already and have gotten lots of herbs. The dill and cilantro are flowering (oops) along with a volunteer cosmo, but they’re attracting lots of good little bugs. The mystery curcubit that I thought was a yellow squash is looking distinctly watermelon like. Which is both exciting and scary. Is it a green striped squash or watermelon??? I need answers!! Note that I had to grab a random trellis I wasn’t using to make a weird little ladder for the mystery plant so it didn’t squash out (HA!) my sage and other plants. Seems to be working OK so far.
old garden

watermelon or squash

watermelon or squash?


several gardens' harvest one day

Not too shabby for my first year of raised beds, I think!

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