Friday, December 2, 2022

Sweet Potato Slips from the Greenhouse

So I grew sweet potatoes in the garden again this year. There was no fanfare to the whole event.

Thanks to my EasiOyYa (Easy Olla) I am able to grow out sweet potato starts from May through the end of the summer. It is rather easy. All I need to do is plant my best sweet potatoes next to the EasiOyYas, let them keep everything moist and wait. Once the plants emerge, I let them get to be about 1 foot or so in diameter, then I twist them free of their mother tuber and bring them where I want to plant them. Then I plant the entire slip (including the roots) up to the first set of leaves. 

















Generally speaking, sweet potatoes transpire very little, so there is minimal water lost in the whole process. This being said, it may be wise if you live some place where the average high is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, to provide afternoon shade for the first week – while the slip is establishing itself. This will ensure that it is able to get a good foothold before sprawling across the yard in its quest to conquer the world.













A little dish with cooked Purple Sweet Potato Pie filling.



As I produce slips from the greenhouse during the hottest part of the summer, I almost always have plenty to spare. If you are ever in town and in need of some Dingess Sweet Potato slips, simply drop by Cucumber Shop while I am around and I may just have some sweet potato slips waiting just for you.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Cucumber Shop Sticker Business Card

If you happen to frequent a location where gardeners pass by and it is allowed to post a business card, or if you would really like a Cucumber Shop sticker, just let me know. I might ask for the cost of postage, but if you are ordering some seeds, I can likely just throw one in the order for free. Just let me know. 

– Jay from Cucumber Shop



Friday, November 18, 2022

Sikkim Cucumbers

This year I decided to grow out the Sikkim Cucumber. The whole reason for this was to try out something different. Up to this time, I have been primarily focusing on cucumbers grown immature as melons and I felt that there are some other indigenous cucumber varieties that may need some attention.





























The Sikkim cucumber is what I would call a Himalayan mountain variety. This is a variety that has been grown in the Himalayan mountains for a long time and has a dark flesh when mature. These varieties are often characterized by their tolerance to cool nights and their superior storage properties. I suppose you could call them “winter cucumbers” for their ability to last over a month in storage.

































The seed I received of this variety did require a little bit of cleaning up. There were a couple rouge seeds of another cucumber variety that I pulled out over time and I needed to discard some cucumbers that had set near those vines in order to eliminate cross-pollinated vines.



























The taste of the Sikkim is very mellow and the texture is very smooth. While the outside does get a bit hard, the inside flesh remains good for quite a while. Once the cucumber matures, the fruit begins to soften and the flesh around the seed cavity begins to turns a bit sour.






























Unlike some other cucumber varieties I grew this summer, the Sikkim was late to give out its germplasm. The first 10-20 fruits only had 10-20 seeds at most, while most had much less – sometimes none at all. I have encountered this with other heirloom varieties and have wondered if the variety has some parthenocarpic qualities or was just picky. 
































In the case of the Sikkim, there were not even seed pods, so it was entirely possible that there was no pollination at all. Or perhaps there is a time in the life of the fruit during which the flower is still receptive to pollen, but is past the time of being able to receive pollen for production. For whatever reason it may be, those who grow Sikkim may want to just consume the first flush of fruit prior to trying their hand at seed production.