Granted … there are 2 pumpkins …. but they were TOTALLY unintentional. Last December – as we do every year – Nick and I tossed our old pumpkins into the gigantic dirt pile we have created behind the shed. It’s always provided a solid pile of pretty fertile soil to dig up and use in pots when Spring arrives. Normally – we’ve got the occasional Polk weed and dandelion growing out of it … SO you can imagine my surprise when I started to notice the unmistakable leaves of a vine plant! At first – I thought it might have been a cucumber or squash plant – perhaps some hidden seed that we tossed into the mulch pile. AND THEN … I realized that’s exactly what it was – it was a pumpkin vine from the old pumpkins we had tossed the winter before! The TIPS I have for having a Great Pumpkin of your own? Get yourself a beagle…. evidently it worked for Charlie Brown and me 🙂
Everyone has been trying to post or blog about 3 things they are grateful for, 100 Days of Happiness, or taking Positivity Challenges. Naturally, I found myself wanting to do one. So I sat down at my computer and eagerly began to list all the things I was grateful for – but alas! I could think of nothing. It surely wasn’t because I am not grateful for all of my blessings. It was because I wanted each one of my reasons to have “meaning” and “purpose” behind them. I opted to come back to the computer at another time.
We’ll I’m going to give it another try ….. my good ol’ friend the broccoli plant. While – this summer was perfect for my squash, zucchini, cabbage and broccoli – the cabbage loopers, cabbage worms and Army worms thought so too. Well …with my broccoli, at least. I’ve grown broccoli in the past – and really had a lot of luck with it. This year, however, was a different story. Perhaps because I planted the broccoli next to the cabbage, maybe conditions were just working against me, or maybe I just didn’t do enough Critter Control. I tend not to spray my plants for bugs or animals – because – as a rule – the only pests that invade my garden are my pups. AND the stinkbugs (but up until recently there was really no true tested remedy to rid them). I do, however, spray for powdery mildew – as I tend to get that every year. But, alas, I should have kept a better eye on my broccoli ….. because the delicious broccoli and ham quiche I was going to make was never to be.
My broccoli heads were firm, compact, tight, green and un-flowered. A perfect harvest – which was to become a PERFECT quiche. My mom called dibbs on her favorite head and I went right out and harvested them …. being careful to leave plenty of room for delicious little sprouts to grow. I brought them inside and soaked them carefully – as I always do – in Apple Cider Vinegar (my go to rinse for all my veggies – including mulberries and blackberries). After soaking them for a good 20 minutes or so – I saw a nice layer of creepy crawlies floating on the top. I skimmed them off and rinsed my plants off putting them on a plate and storing them in the fridge – to cook the following day. Well, to my surprise ….. when I awoke the following morning – the plate in the fridge was loaded with scores of additional worms. Discouraged – but not to be beat …. I made a salt/ice water soak and left my cabbage in there for another hour or so …. more worms came off …. many more worms. I rinsed and picked … picked and rinsed … but the determined little buggers were not budging – wrapped around the head like little snakes. I gave up. While – I know I could have boiled it or microwaved it, I ultimately thought – let’s just start over … Thankfully broccoli is a cool weather plant and I have all fall to make a new (hopefully less buggy) harvest. Here’s to TRYING AGAIN. 🙂
How about you … have you ever had difficulty with certain insects or critters? What methods have you tried for Critter Control? Do you have any nifty tricks for cleaning produce? I’d absolutely love to hear about them. Feel free to comment or email!! 🙂