Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Somevines, you just gotta let 'em be...

By default, the first tomato to blush in the garden should be a portent to a wonderful day, don't you think? It's not that I ask for alot [my day wasn't], but when are Mondays ever wonderful? ;-)

So instead of displaying that Brandywine Pink from yesteday, I head toward another section of the terrace orto where thrives a variety of vining vegetables: snake melons, japanese cucumbers and uchiki kuri squash. This location was not the best in terms of sunlight hours, but it was the safest place to keep the doxie pup from doing further damage to the plants! These were all started from seed, with the final butternut squash growing from pulp seeds that I had tossed into the back lot after cutting into a squash purchased at the market. What's so remarkable here is that I haven't really tended to this isolated bunch of viners. I just let them be and within a matter of weeks, flowering, then fruits were making an appearance.

baby snake melon snakemelon flower baby japanese cuke baby uchiki kuri baby butternut squash

Over the weekend I went around admiring orderly little gardens up in the mountain hamlets surrounding Lake Como. What did I find? Nothing but healthy zucchini, pumpkins, basil, rosemary, salad greens, bell peppers, beans (bush and pole) and tomatoes. And more tomatoes...and even more tomatoes. Between the loads of Cuor di Bue and San Marzano, all I could surmise is that old-timers - like my father-in-law - stick to tradition, and there is no such thing as attempting the latest fad to send raves around the plot community. What grows in their orto is what a grandfather and a great-grandfather must have grown long before that. Maybe there's a slight chance to convert a few, but for the most part, you just gotta let 'em be.


  1. Looking great. That snake melon flower is amazing! I had never eard of snake melons before.

  2. Good on you Rowena, a girlgottodo what
    agirlgottodo; planting "newfangled" vegetables. They look great. Attractive and interesting. I am the same I like new things to try out; my vegetable gardener belongs to the "old guard"; sticks to his "tradition"!

  3. I like to grow things that are expensive to buy rather than things that are as cheap as chips when they are in season, but I'm not nearly as adventurous as you.

    Snake Melon, for example. What is that? If the flower is anything to go by, it must be one hell of an exotic melon. Not sure you'll have much success with the rubber shoe though!

  4. Kat - it just kills me that if I were growing this in Hawaii...it would depend on if I used pesticides or an alternative organic way to get rid of the fruitflies. If I remember correctly, there were always a couple of damaged melons in my dad's garden, but we just cut the ugly parts out.

    Titania - possibly for my Gemini soul is why I just can't help but love variety and something new. Example: the little splurge at the garden store yesterday. Now I have seeds for rampion, round zucchini and some type of fuzzy, round cucumber melon!

  5. Is the beautiful white flower with the delicate frills the snake melon? If so, I'd like to grow it just for the flowers. I don't think melons themselves would stand a chance of developing where I live . . . but the flower! It's difficult to guage its size from the picture.

    Actually, I think I'm making a fool of myself here. I don't know what a melon flower looks like but I would have expected it to look more like a squash or pumpkin flower . . . but that white flower, whatever it is, is so lovely!


  6. Love that frilly little white blossom! Everything looks wonderful - soon you'll be collecting your hard-earned reward! Is it only these veggies that are just starting to bear fruit or is that true of your whole garden? I feel like things are starting to wind down here (already!) - maybe it's because we've had such a dry spell lately, but my tomato vines are starting to yellow a bit and trees are starting to drop leaves. There are still plenty more tomatoes to come though unless the deer pay another visit!

  7. Rowena - thanks for visiting my site. As Cathy mentioned, the weather is starting to get chilly in the mornings and my tomato plant too are starting to yellow as well. I doubt I would have another harvest before the season ends, but I've had a few eggplants and tomatoes this year. Nothing is more delicious than eating what you harvest!

  8. Lovely pictures. I must grow butternut squash next year. I haven't seen the japanese cucumbers before - do they grow big, or is that it? What do they taste like? We grow cuor de bue (coeur de boeuf as they're called in french), but we find the plants are very spindly and the fruits susceptible to rotting and being eaten by pests. Those that do survive taste delicious though.

  9. One of my favorite things to do is to photograph flowers, leaves and vegetables. It's always pretty easy and they usually are pretty still unless the wind is blowing and which case you have to wait for them to be still. I usually use a macro feature so I can get really close to the subject. Once I view my images on the computer I can zoom and see all the great details of the my subject.

    Your photos are great and reminds me I need to go shoot some more flowers and wildlife.

  10. San Francisco Photos - I am torn between getting a really good macro and a telephoto. I like the idea of studying insects but I also love photos of wildlife! One of my dreams is to photograph an italian red squirrel or white ermine. Thank you for the compliment. Words of encouragement as far as this amateur is concerned!