Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cucumber and Chard

A proud Cucumber, or rather five Proud Cucumbers, they just look fantastic, vibrant and happy, their little tendrils fluttering around and leaves that dark green, which for a while I thought might have meant too rich a diet for the production of a fruiting body. But lo, in that cruel valley of wind, blue sky, Stinkbug and the hell that is the Leaping Cucumber Beetle it could be that kind of season that produces the entire continuum of Cucumber.  From the sweet young things, through the teenagers and all the way to those grannies and grandpas many of whom, despite local ordinances get the Zoroastrian treatment and are popped on the Compost Pile where the lazier Possums sit in deck chairs. Fortunately the freezers are pretty much empty at the moment, and when sliced and packed in a little salt, a little sugar, maybe a little Dill and a little watered down vinegar, experience suggests that Cucumber can be frozen, and if the electric is constant can be kept for at least two years, possibly three.

 Chard is always pretty much of a nightmare. In it's baby years, it looks as though it's going to die, so you over coddle, your imagination runs riot, and you wonder why. And you might have the odd happy dream about Groundhog penetrating the Garden Fortress and putting an end to the problem of Chard. But Chard likes to tease us Gardeners. What it's actually doing is setting its own standards, demanding attention and training the Gardener to get his mind around Caterpillar Season. They're little green, Chard colored bastards and there can be hundreds, if not thousands of them. Birds, who by Caterpillar Season have become picky about what they eat, might sample a few. The rest are down to nimble fingers and patience. But sometimes during Caterpillar Season, which lasts from the middle of this month to the end of September, you just have to cut every Chard down to the ground, and hope they regroup. And already I'm kind of jumpy around rutting White Butterfly, which could be the honeymoon phase of  Chard Caterpillars.  But we can't kill them all, in case they never come back.

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