Friday, July 16, 2010

Adventures in Gardening

My garden so far this year has left me scratching my head.

First, there were the strange squash, one of which you can see on the left there alongside the zucchini in the photo above. I still don't know what they are. I ate one and it had little taste and was rather mealy. I probably won't eat another but I don't know what to do with them.

The next puzzle was the green beans. Last year I accidentally planted pole beans. Pole beans are fine (a) if you like pole beans, which I don't, and (b) you are prepared to grow pole beans. Pole beans have green bean vines that grow like kudzu in that they will take over and wrap themselves around anything near them if you don't have fence or a pole or something to train them along.

So when I purchased seeds I bought bush beans. I also switched brands, having had trouble with seeds last year that did not produce veggies.

My bush beans turned out to be pole beans. Many pole beans. Pole beans that wanted to reach the fence when they were planted in the middle of my little plot. Pole beans that crept into the tomatoes and into the zucchini and then tripped you up when you tried to to walk through the little garden. Pole beans that started bringing down the plastic netting that we used for fence. Pole beans from hell.

This morning, in a fit of pique, I ripped every green bean plant from the garden and tossed them away. What few bush beans were growing were so few in number as to be useless and the pole beans, if that is what they were, were doing nothing but growing vine. It took me an hour but I felt vindicated when they were all hauled to the compost pile.

See hole the pole beans were taking over the tomatoes?

What I am left with now are zucchini, strange squash, and tomatoes. The zucchini are doing well. The tomatoes are starting to ripen.

The zucchini are doing great!

However, one tomato plant has a visitor. Mockingbirds set up housekeeping in the farthest plant from the house.

The nest has at least five blue speckled eggs in it.

So this morning when I resolutely stomped out to rip out bean vines, I found myself being chirped at. And not only by mockingbirds. Not far from the garden a baby finch had either fallen from the nest or was failing its first flying lesson. Its parents were having a fit. When I looked later, though, I could not find the bird and the parents were gone. I hope it flew away.

Meanwhile, the mockingbird watched me from the nearby spruce tree, fluttering occasionally in consternation. I wasn't paying any attention and did not know until I had ripped out the pole beans that there was a nest in the tomato plant. This is because the pole beans were hiding that particular plant.

When I saw there was a nest I went inside and fetched my camera. When I came out I saw the mockingbird fly away.

As I moved toward the nest, momma bird grew a little noisy. When I tried to peer in to get a shot of the eggs, I heard a rustling of wings and the next thing I knew I was ducking, for she was headed straight for my head.

Needless to say, I quickly snapped a picture and moved away. I did not plan to hurt the little eggs; I only wanted to see. But of course momma bird did not know that.

Gardening this year is quite an adventure!


  1. Those anomalous squashes really do look like marrows. The following may help explain:

  2. I love your garden story. It sounds like you have little gnomes working mischief with your seeds by night. They are in cahoots with the birds who have taken over the garden by day. As I say about my garden, there's always next year to try again!

  3. Your garden looks much better than mine. I can't even get strange squash or uncontrollable beans to grow. I keep telling myself "Maybe next year".

  4. How I envy your garden! Love zucchini and tomatoes but don't know what pole beans are...

  5. When I was growing up and not out, my parents made me weed the garden. I hated working in it because my allergies are so bad. One year, they planted the cucumbers too close to the squash and they cross-bred. We called them Squashcumbers and they tasted awful!

  6. Lenora, it certainly feels like someone is up to mischief in my garden.
    Briar, thank you for the information!
    Elena, pole beans are a type of bean but the vine grows long and is usually trained up a pole or fence.
    Amy, if I had planted cucumbers ... but I didn't. Maybe they crossed with the zucchini, which is beside them, but I have always planted zukes and yellow squash side by side and never had a problem.

  7. Looks like a squash and cucumber cross pollinated or mated.

  8. If it's a marrow (which it really does look like) you can bake it stuffed with mince and onion - whatever spices or flavours you like. My Mum used to boil it up with a tin of tomatoes which I like but my boyf doesn't. Marrow is watery and mild - more like a huge courgette than a squash.

    Poor little mummy bird - fancy you winding her up like that.

    We have been watching a bat this evening - I have never seen one fly around for so long in a wide open space. Once it got whatever bug/s it wanted it flew away and did not come back.


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