Monday, October 4, 2010

The gourds are in..

I've been waiting for weeks to get under the huge tangled pile of gourd vines to see what was hiding under the rampant foliage.. Thanks to Hurricane Earl last month, our trellises were all knocked down and I wasn't exactly sure what survived and how big the remaining gourds had grown.. I'm thrilled to say that we picked a great crop of snake gourds - our best ever! We usually have a bunch of 3+ foot tall gourds, which always thrill the kids at school when I bring in our wacky selection of gourds each October to the local schools.

Yet, as we checked beneath the mass of vines, we also discovered a very, very, very long snake gourd - 51-inches long! We kept pulling and it kept coming.. I don't know who was more excited - me or the kids! As you can see from the photo, it's much longer than the rest of the ones we harvested. I used the shovel as a point of reference.. So much fun! After we show the schoolchildren, we'll use it as part of our seasonal decorations on the front doorstep.

As you can see, we're also beginning to harvest the fall plantings of greens. We have about 18 types of salad crops planted now - including this lovely mix of Asian greens.. The spicy baby leaves make a nice salad or can used to add zing to sandwiches and wraps! In the background is another bed of arugula, our favourite salad green. We also have several types of arugula growing in the cold frame, including a rustic one, which is more winter hardy than the traditional arugula.

The cold frame carrots are a lovely size now too.. mind you, we're not actually eating them yet. We won't start pulling them until late December.. the 3rd photo shoot for the book will take place next week and it will be nice to get shots of all of these fall crops.. plus the various kales, kohlrabi, celeriac, fall broccoli, endive, escarole, lettuces, spinach, chards and more..

I also tucked a few parsley and thyme plants in the frames to supply fresh herbs in mid-winter.. what a lovely treat to pick your own herbs when a thick blanket of snow covers the garden!

Happy Gardening!


  1. These photos are beautiful encouraging knowing one can grow hardy greens so late in the season! Am having some luck thanks to you.

    The gourds are tremendous and the children at school will be amazed!!! Our child has a spring birthday, and so each child at the bday party would plant sunflowers or zinnias, all in cardboard egg cartons and bring it home to mom. Can't tell you the moms who came back months later saying what a joy those flowers brought them after planting out.

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  3. Nikki will your book include information / instruction on cold-frames? I have never used one and am wondering if it is too late to start one outside for some winter plantings.

  4. Hi Vervacious.. yes, the book will include both info (at least 15 pages) and photo instructions of building a cold frame (my hubby is that star of that spread).. plus, details on all the best crops for cold frame culture and how and when to plant them.. The book will be released in late fall of 2011 by Storey Publishing in North America.. so, we're still a year away from the book launch..

    If you have a frame set up, you can still plant spinach, mache and claytonia. You can also set up a temporary structure with straw bales and an old window (or a sheet of clear plastic).. very easy and then you can use the straw next year as a mulch in the garden..

    Thanks for your comments.. :)

  5. Thanks Nikki. Awesome idea with the straw bales!

  6. Hey Niki, did you know that the world record for the longest tomato vine at 65 feet was a sungold?


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)