New additions to the edible garden

I have my gardening buddy, The Weed, to thank for some new “residents” in the garden. He has been more successful with seed-sowing than I have, and so I now have these new seedlings to nurture here:

At this point, they all look the same, but in this picture are two cucumber seedlings, two Clemson Spineless okra seedlings, and one each of the large bittergourd, wax gourd and pumpkin.

In retrospect, I’ve realized they are almost all cucurbitaceae plants – there are two cucumber plants, one large bittergourd plant, one wax gourd and another pumpkin – together with a pair of Clemson Spineless Okra plants.

I was keen for more cucumber plants because the little forest of seedlings I boasted about a couple of weeks ago was decimated by snails or beetles or something as soon as I put the planter with the plants out in the garden. Seven plants were reduced to just two and a possible third, and since Weed had his surplus seedlings, I grabbed them.

It’s also to my benefit that Weed likes to experiment with all kinds of plants, because I am a simple person with simple pleasures, and was satisfied to have normal okra plants. Thanks to him, my repertoire has now expanded to include Clemson Spineless okra plants. If I manage to grow them to adulthood, I will be interested to compare them to our other okra plants.

One of our latest lot of mini bittergourds. I didn’t realize it at the time but there was a red ladybug in the picture (bottom right). This goes to show that they come around when there’s food for them, because the winter melon plants half a metre away have a small population of aphids on them.

We were also happy enough with our mini bittergourds that we hadn’t considered growing any other bittergourd, but now will be experimenting with a larger variety.

Our pumpkin plants have also been growing readily enough that I felt confident to take on another pumpkin plant. I forget what variety it is, but it will join the butternut pumpkin vine in the old sweet potato patch.

I was also initially thrilled about getting the wax gourd, then was chagrinned when I found that wax gourd is another name for the winter melon. Thankfully, Mother Weed set me right by informing me that this wax gourd is akin to the English marrow. I’m not entirely sure what it will be, but I do like the adventure of growing something new and observing what happens. I’m a little nutty that way, I guess… :)

I’m also happy to share that I’ve finally managed to get more Aussie long bean plants to grow. It appears that the seeds are extra sensitive to moisture, and I had kept the seeds in too moist an environment. Most of them got mouldy and rotted away, but enough germinated that I realized my error. We will definitely be growing more of these plants, because the beans are fat and juicy, reminding me of French beans, and they’re sweet, too! I really must be more diligent and practise successive planting!

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