Thursday, March 26, 2015

Still Growing

Despite spending time looking for other places to live, we still had a small winter garden this year consisting of lots of Jerico lettuce, snap beans, green onions (Texas Bunching) and carrots. Most of the carrots I grew this year were Purple Dragon. We have been enjoying those a lot. However, there were some of my purple Turkish, including this small one, that ended up on our dinner plates.

Turkish Black Carrot - Yummy!

Cut up and ready to be lightly steamed for dinner.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweet Potato Update

So, back in mid-January I finished harvesting my purple sweet potatoes. Despite this being the first time that my children helped with the harvest, they did a great job. All told, by January we had harvested 278 pounds. Each variety did very well. I harvested plenty Dingess Purple, Alabama Purple (or Purple Delight) and All-Purple. Even a friend's pink variety did well.

The kids helped harvest these Sweet Potatoes

Though I had hoped to sell some on Craigslist, we may be eating a lot of them. That’s alright because my kids don’t mind eating lots of sweet potatoes. (=

Purple Sweet Potato Fries (=


Friday, January 9, 2015

Arkansas Little Leaf Cucumber

Though I have been wanting to grow Arkansas Little Leaf Cucumber, ever since growing it in my first summer garden, it was not until I recently had access to a greenhouse when I finally made the time and room to grow this incredible cucumber variety.

The Arkansas Little Leaf Cucumber

At the time when I last grew this variety I had not experienced any amount of success with other cucumbers and was highly impressed with the results. Thanks to the University of Arkansas developing and releasing this variety (initially a patented variety) gardeners are able to grow a very prolific cucumber in any climate. One of the ways in which this variety can grow in various climates has to do with its parthenocarpic fruit. When a plant exhibits Parthenocarpy (literally meaning “virgin fruit”) this means that the vines will produce female fruit without pollination.

Male Flowers of the Arkansas Little Leaf

Though plants that are parthenocarpic will produce fruit without pollination, any fruit produced in this manner will be completely sterile. The fruit will simply produce without seeds. Bees or industrious gardeners are required to pollinate fruit if there is to be seed for future generations. As there are generally plenty of male flowers, pollination does not become an issue unless the temperatures outside are over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In this case, the gardener must wait until the temperatures cool down so that the male and female flower blossoms do not wilt in the heat. 

The Immature Female Blossom at the perfect time for Pollination

Because they are parthenocarpic, the fruit can keep its flower for a while
The vines of the Arkansas Little Leaf cucumber are generally very disease resistant and hardy. The cucumbers themselves are a bit thick-skinned (much unlike the Carosello I am used to growing). This is an incredibly prolific variety that will produce and produce until the plant itself dies. With the fruit exhibiting a very consistent size, Arkansas Little Leaf makes the perfect cucumber for pickling in or out of a greenhouse. 
Arkansas Little Leaf Cucumbers are prolific despite any outside stresses.
On a side note: If you would like to pick up some seed of this variety, you might try my Cucumber Shop

Lastly, to summarize: when presented with a pretty prolific parthenocarpic pickler, promptly pick the Arkansas Little Leaf to pack into your next pickling pints.

Arkansas Little Leaf is a consistent pickling Cucumber