Saturday, 17 August 2013

cool as a cucumber

One my most frequently asked questions at work is 'What's that? (while pointing at a common vegetable in its mature flowering/fruiting phase). There is often a faintly accusatory tone, particularly if the specimen in question appears to be dead. Sometimes the enquiry comes in the form 'Why do you let your vegetables go bad?' My reassuring explanations that vegetable seed comes from vegetable flowers, not just from packets at the garden centre, are met with grudgingly suspicious acceptance. My follow up scramble through the difference between annual, biennial and perennial, and the need to collect ripe seed from a (sadly deceased) parent plant, or an unappetisingly leathery mature fruit, feels like an alibi. I may not have shot the sheriff - but I did allow those peas to complete their life cycle in order to harvest viable seed.

So thank goodness for my lovely hotbed cucumbers - happily demonstrating all phases of growth at the same time.*  Pickling size 10cm, salad size 15cm and 'the one that got away' - 20 cm, completely inedible and full of mature seed to collect and sow next year...

*My early season romantic dreams of brining my own cucumbers from the hotbed obviously failed to take into account the arrival of the builders and the removal of the kitchen. I won't be preserving anything that can't take it's chances hanging in the shed - thank goodness it's been a bumper year for shallots and garlic (more of that soon). 


  1. i bought some shallots! they were so prettily plaited!
    cucumbers make me gag tho

    1. Wow - that's like a trailer for my next blog post right there! Not sure you're helping market the cucumbers though :-)

  2. Yep!!! The seeds are where it's at!!! How wonderful that you are set for the next season with your seeds!!!

  3. I don't manage to do it with everything - but I think it's a really important thing to demonstrate. An unbelievable amount of people can't get their heads round that bit of the story. If I say 'those are cabbages that are setting seed', people ask 'what do you use cabbage seed for?' (ie Is it delicious sprinkled on bread?) - rather than 'to grow more cabbages'