The Cucumber Summer

by Mel


This summer was supposed to be my relaxing time. My husband and I decided we could afford to give up my fulltime job, so that I could be more available to our two preteen sons. They are at that precarious age when friends know all and parents know nothing. As a part of my adjustment to not working, I decided to plant a vegetable garden. We had  just moved into the country and thus I had plenty of room to grow my veggies. I worked hard to put my seeds into the ground. I used a hoe and shovel, not a roto-tiller. It seemed to take forever but, after a storm washed away all my little signs the veggies began to emerge. The idea was to plant in groups things that would work well together. For example the green beans were planted with the corn, the idea being that the beans could use the corn for a trellis to climb on. The problem was, the beans came up before the corn and the corn had to fight to find a place of it�s own. Another thing I did not count on, the seed packets were not written for a Texas climate. This means my pumpkins were planted in "early spring after danger of frost is past" and they got heat stroke in early May! The tomatoes are making lots of flowers but no tomatoes. On the other hand the acorn squash has graced me with two fruits. In fact the only plant that seems to enjoy my novice garden touch is the cucumbers.

They have intermingled with all the other plants until my rows are, well, what rows? Just tonight my boys helped me pick over two dozen cucumbers. Already I have pickled two gallons worth this season. I am searching my cookbooks for any recipe to do with cucumbers. I plan to pickle another gallon or two, but there are still dozens ripening. It would not be so bad if. the tomatoes, carrots and spinach were doing as well. A terrific salad could be made then.

I know what is going to happen though. The cucumbers are going to die out before I ever see a carrot or tomato. It is definitely to hot to hope _or spinach, it died of heat stroke a month ago, after putting forth a few frail leaves.

 This will surely be remembered as the cucumber summer. Next year I will buy plants. Approved of by the agricultural extension office naturally. I will also remember that this is the great state of Texas and not of Missouri where I first began the journey to become a master gardener. I will plant my corn earlier and my peas and pumpkins later. If the nightmares have stopped, and I am no longer sick of the I may plant the cucumbers again, who knows? Until then, got any good cucumber recipes?