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Sunday 19 January 2014

Welcome back to the garden everyone and a warm welcome to our new volunteer Sonia Nesci! With no rain and so much heat recently our rainwater tank is now empty so the water supply has been switched to the town water. Keeping up with watering is one of the challenges during summer gardening while plants are growing fast requiring not only regular watering but a lot of nutrients to sustain the healthy growth.

Over the holiday season tomatoes increased the sweetness thanks to the warm weather. Some of us remained in Sydney during this period were able to enjoy a plenty of daily dose of tomatoes! Cucumber plants have also grown so quickly and started producing good crops.

There is always a surprise or two in the garden and this time it was a mysterious cucumber. I thought we had planted seeds of West Indian Gherkin and Parisian Pickling Cucumber from late October to early November. In the last few weeks we have been harvesting fully grown cucumbers that look like normal cucumbers (not gherkins) and daintily named “Parisian Pickling Cucumber” turned out to be a little thorny devilish fruit! While our normal cucumber tasted sweet and crisp, this thorny devil, when cut open, was mainly seeds inside with little taste and watery. The closest resemblance I could find on the net was called “South African Spiny Cucumber. What are they really?

http://www.edibletropicalplants.com/2013/11/south-african-spiny-cucumber.html

Another surprise yesterday was not in the garden but in Wendy’s backyard. During the tea break, I was summoned to her house to see the huge snake skin she had found the previous day. Not quite sure whether the snake had already gone somewhere else or not, I carefully collected the skin and brought to the garden to show everyone. It was almost 6 foot long as you can see in the photo! Later Wendy was told by a snake expert that the skin was Red Bellied Black Snake’s, which, to Wendy’s horror, would have been hiding in a shelter site for about 2 weeks during sloughing (shedding) process before shedding the skin. Another expert told her it was a python’s. Luckily no one was scared or bitten by the “live” snake, however, where it’s gone to hide next is a big mystery!

Thanks for your help in the garden as always. See you again soon!

2 Comments

  1. Sonia

    Thanks for the warm welcome! It was lovely to meet and work in the garden with Yumi and all. I look forward to next Sunday.

  2. Yumi Sakauchi

    I post Deb’s comment below on her behalf.

    Deb: Snakes alive! Couldn’t see the photo of the snake skin, but I do agree that the prickly cucumber is a waste of space- it will never amount to anything edible.
    I had one of those real cucumbers with spikes at ‘mature’ stage. The spikes rub off well enough and then you are left with a thick skinned cucumber- which needs peeling.
    The same plant gave me an adolescent-aged cucumber and it was MUCH nicer- get them while they are young, I say!

    Yumi: Yes, I also tasted both “mature stage” and “adolescent-aged” cucumbers and agree with Deb’s taste test. The older they become the tougher their skin! Sounds familiar!
    Then I received Sayaka’s email about the mystery cucumber which she found on the net. It seems that it is the “West Indian Gherkin”, not the “Parisian Pickling” after all !? See the link below.

    http://www.worldcrops.org/crops/Maxixe.cfm

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