Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cautious Optimism in the Garden

The acorn squash starts white (rear)
Last year I told the story of my endless struggle to grow vegetables in the midst of the woods. Others might think the wiser of it, but every year I give it a go. Last Spring, I bought and then shoveled nine yards (=a lot) of compost to create a raised bed which I enclosed in a 6' high, 10'x10' dog kennel to keep out deer. But, the compost was really not composted completely and was horrible. It killed all my plants.

This year, the raised compost bed is better. It hasn't outright killed anything. The tomatoes were quite leggy though and don't have much fruit, and they don't look great. I did get a decent set of beans from it, chard continues to grow in it, and there is a single tiny watermelon in development.

But the exciting news for me is in the newest bed. Having failed with the compost, I hauled the sandbox I'd made for my son when he was a toddler across the property and adjacent to the dog kennel. I filled it with commercial soil, compost, humus. I planted garlic in November and left it over winter. In the Spring, I put in some beans, peas, and various odd seeds.  So, my garlic did great. At least by my standards, and I wrote about that in June.

Now the exciting news is winter squash. Two winter squash plants -- an acorn squash and a buternut squash -- are taking over the property, running 10' each in any direction. I've never had success with any squash before and I've always been told winter squash is the hardest. But, low and behold, I have squash growing ! There are three butternuts on the vines, and acorns continue to pile up.. there must be ten or more of them now. I'd love to get more butternut, but they seem to have done their thing.

Now, we wait. I can't harvest them for another 8 weeks or so. There is soooo much that can go wrong before then. Deer can come through and eat the entire thing overnight -- that has happened to me before. Bugs are another huge challenge, though I didn't see any squash bug eggs on the leaves. And then there is just rot and other enemies of success.

Keep your fingers crossed !
The immature butternut starts out with green and white stripes - this is about 6" long
Here the white has turned yellow over about a week... it should then, I think, go dark green


  1. cool! What a great looking butternut

  2. Looks nice Renee. My garden is a bit of a disaster this year. I've got some tomatoes and zucchini but the peppers pretty much failed. The sunflowers I planted will provide several large bags of seeds though.

  3. I may be mistaken Renee, but the squash is either a yellow variety of butternut, or a mislabeled other squash. I think it is a yellow butternut, per images and info on internet.