Friday, May 29, 2020

The Turkish Tursuluk Kelek in the Chicken Garden

As my first opportunity to try out the Tursuluk Kelek cucumber-melon in the greenhouse didn’t end up as I had hoped, I decided to try this variety out in the chicken garden. I began interplanting this variety out in mid June and did my best to give it as much sunlight as possible until harvest in October. Unfortunately, with the high amount of shade in this garden coupled with an early onset of powdery mildew it became very difficult to keep this variety going any longer than I did.

The Turkish Tursuluk Kelek

June 15th, 2019

September 19th

Seeds of this variety were obtained by my brother while he was visiting Turkey. I was very grateful for him working to get these for me.

September 27th

So, as flavor goes, this cucumber tastes very similar to nor cucumbers – minus the bitterness and indigestion. However, the firm flesh and minimal water content makes this variety much less palatable than many other varieties I have grown.

Having grown out multiple cucumber-melon varieties before, I could tell from a very early stage that this variety is a much more firm crisp variety than I prefer. I could just look at the cucumbers and know. Cucumbers like this often make good picklers, but poor slicers. This is often the case with more dense firm varieties.

October 7th

The closest variety that I have grown to this one was the Carosello Tondo Tarantino Melone. which I made a video and previously blogged about. Interestingly, both have similar female flower growth patterns with an asymmetrical flower, where some of the cucumbers are flat or curved on one side instead of round.

Ready to Harvest seed in early December

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Seven things to Consider before Purchasing that Seed Packet

Oh, the enticing allure of seed catalogues and seed packets. One of the things I love most about seed packets are the pictures. The pictures many seed packets have are incredible. They either show perfect specimens of a vegetable on the vine or being displayed on some platter or cutting board. There is very little else that appeals to my eye like a well-grown vegetable. But as much as I love looking at beautiful vegetables, I enjoy reading the seed packet description even more. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to the varieties I grow – I would actually prefer those 1000 words over the picture. Though others may scoff at the description, sometimes the description can tell a gardener much more about the variety of seed in the packet than the picture does.

Why I have problems trusting seed packets.

At times, the pictures on seed packets can be deceiving. Especially if the company selling them neither grew the vegetables or even took any of the pictures of vegetables that they sell seeds for. Perhaps the best advise for seed buyers is “Caveat emptor”, or "Let the buyer beware" in Latin. In this day in which so many things can be purchased online, it helps to have some additional support in knowing what one is dealing with “the real thing” before purchasing seed. Gardeners who are vigilant should be able to avoid being scammed.

The main reason why I bring all of this up is because I deal with this kind of problem all of the time. The seed I deal with always has a name, a description and a picture. More often than not, the name is the most descriptive thing. However, even the name is sometimes wrong and leads me to feel like I am (at least in part) wasting my time growing out so many cucumber varieties in search of something that actually matches its picture and description.

Misleading Seed Packets from a different angle.

Here are some basic things to consider when purchasing seed:

1. What is the seller’s intent? Is the seller more concerned about making quick money or is the seller attempting to sell a high-quality product.

2. What percentage of the varieties that the seller offer have they grown?

3. What kinds of genetic maintenance has the company done to ensure that the variety that is being offered is both what it is advertised as and continues to exhibit high-quality genetics?

4. Who is the seller’s intended customer? Is the seller more focused on large farm operations that require seed that produces identical vegetables which conform to mechanical picking, shipping and shelf life requirements or does the company care more about genetically variable seed that is grown on biodynamic soils and is valued for beauty and flavor over being completely identical. Note: I have come to find that highly biologically active soils naturally produce more consistently stable fruit. Many problems with variable fruit shape and size may be alleviated as the gardener works to maintain high fertility in within the garden.

5. How long has the seed company been around? Does the seed company have a reputation to maintain?

6. How dialed in are the seeds to the climate that is important to the gardener? If the seeds are from a completely different climate, or have been grown for generations in a completely different climate, they may not do well in the opposite kind of climate.

7. Ratings: Though ratings won’t tell a gardener everything, they will tell them a lot. Do growers generally trust the company? If not, why? Did the company respond appropriately to any complaints? Are there themes that would lead one to trust the company? Though there are many places to view ratings of seed companies, Dave’s garden would probably be a good place to start, as they have a whole section devoted to seed company reviews. Not that I would advocate changing anyone’s seed suppliers, but before purchasing seed from even some larger well-known company it may be a good idea to get “the scoop” on their ratings at "The Garden Watchdog" found at the Dave’s garden site.

"Would you be okay with these results?" Feel free to comment below.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Another Spuredda Leccese Carosello

There’s never a way to know what I am going to get when I grow out any carosello variety that is referred to as a “Spuredda Leccese”. Being that the word “Spuredda” means the same thing as Carosello and that many of the Carosello varieties in Italy come from the Leccese region, it is very much saying “We have no idea what this type of cucumber-melon seed this is, but it is a carosello and it may have come from this one area. So – we’ll sell the seed in packages with a fancy stock photo of a carosello on it”.

As with most carosello varieties, it requires growing the seed out to see if it is both viable and also worth saving. This variety did not look much different from others in its seed package, but from early on, it looked darker than other varieties (a good sign). On further inspection (gently brushing off the fuzz) I recognized that this variety had some real potential. If you cannot tell from how I feel about fancy cucumber varieties, I have a real love of cucumbers with stripes.

So, after I messed up one group of carosello due to some misunderstanding of how to properly water the hydroponic buckets that I had in the greenhouse, I decided to try growing this variety out again. So – this variety is very much like some of the darker Scopattizo Barese carosello varieties that my friend Giuseppe has grown.

So now I am faced with yet dilemma – should I continue this line of Carosello Scopattizo Barese or not? I’m not sure. It is really hard to tell what I want to continue to grow unless I grow it next to another very similar variety. Perhaps in a year or two I will find another garden from which I can do a Scopattizo Barese or Spuredda Leccese grow out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Almost Dark Carosello Spuredda Leccese

Sometimes knowledge can be a very good thing. Knowing that fire is hot and knowing the correct color for each wire to connect to an electrical switch are two examples in which knowledge can be very good. However, once someone has knowledge responsibilities soon follow – such as using the fire to cook dinner or fixing the light switches as part of someone else’s to-do list. 

In relation to my garden, the knowledge of what I can grow can sometimes create its own challenge. I can see that others grow a specific cucumber by a specific name or I could have grown a specific cucumber from a previous generation only to not encounter the same cucumber again.

Carosello Spuredda Leccese Dark 7/18/2019

In 2018 I grew a nearly completely dark Spuredda Leccese. However, I did not have as much luck as when I had grown it before. Either because the female flower was crossed with another variety or because the genetics of its mother fruit were not completely dark. The result was a "not quite dark" Spuredda Leccese. 

I’ll keep looking around. Hopefully, during some future carosello grow-out, I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for.

Carosello Spuredda Leccese (almost dark) 8/1.