Friday, February 3, 2023

The Facussa in the Chicken Garden

Right before leaving on a trip in 2021, I knew that I needed to harvest the Carosello Spuredda Leccese Scuro. I was going on a trip that would last for over a month. If I left the fruit on the plants while I was away, they would likely mature, decay, spill their seeds and have the seeds overheat and go bad. This scenario would leave me with a lot of work and very few, if any, usable seeds.














Instead of leaving these plants, I harvested all of the fruit off of the vines, composted the plants and put in 10-inch hydroponic baskets with Facussa transplants. The Facussa would likely require at least 3 weeks to fruit and likely another 3 weeks to fully mature. This would provide me enough time to have the fruit mostly grown by the time I returned home.















When I returned home I noticed that, while the fruit did mature well and look alright, the soil continued to perform poorly. I did grow a crop, but the vines (and subsequently the fruit) was stressed. This resulted in most of the fruit being smaller or drier than it could have been. 












As far I know that many of these cucumbers can be dry-cropped in their native climate, it was a little surprising how poorly the chicken garden plot performed.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Carosello Spuredda Leccese Scuro

Very rarely do I come across a variety as good as the Carosello Spuredda Leccese Scuro. This is a dark green variety with a smooth skin and an exceptionally good rich flavor. While I had grown other variants of dark green Leccese carosello, I continued to struggle to find this beautiful variety.











Pillbug damage on a female blossom


































To clarify, it can be extremely difficult to find any carosello that is truly 100% dark. The majority of the time, even the very dark fruit begins with some light color and become darker based on genetics and the prevalence exposure to direct sunlight. The difference between this and other dark Leccese varieties I have grown is that this one does not retain the light color as much, but instead becomes darker as the fruit grows. Additionally, this variety has a much higher proportion of water content and a much more marketable texture.









































Unfortunately, I was not able to get all I wanted out of this crop this year. Despite giving all I could to the soil in the chicken garden, for various reasons, the Carosello Spuredda Leccese Scuro this year did not perform very well in this plot. One of the main factors was that the area in which this variety was grown was chock full of other plants – especially tomato plants - which really drained the life out of the cucumbers. Even with plenty of nitrogen-rich fertilizer, it seems that tomatoes may have even strip the soil exudates from around adjacent cucumber roots. In addition to the tomatoes, the lackluster performance of the soil (which I have been consistently amending for years) lead me to throw my hands up to growing cucumbers in the chicken garden.






















So, I discovered a really good carosello variety, but I grew in in a poor plot. Now what? Due to the nature of the soil and the garden, I decided to try another variety and come back to the Carosello Spuredda Leccese Scuro when I could give it the time and attention it deserves.