Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Harvest in the Shade

As much as I love WeeHaven, she, like her mistress, isn't exactly well suited to conventional gardening.  Her challenges include: steep slopes, little soil, and shade from several large trees, the most notable being the large Oak that spreads his protective branches over the entire lot where I built the goat pen.  Now, a very determined gardener, which anyone who has read this blog knows I am not, may put in a series of raised beds and trim selective branches to shed more light on the ground.  I prefer to put whatever container is at hand wherever it fits and see what happens.  Sometimes, if I remember to water regularly, I even have a successful harvest.

Since I decided that goats at WeeHavyn would wait another year, the goat pen sits empty.  The bare gate was just too much to see and I had a 16 foot piece of cattle panel that I had cut up for a different project. A little muscle, a few fencing staples, and some 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom have made a lovely cucumber trellis.  I believe if I continue the 1"x1" wire all the way to the top of the fence, I can even grow them when the goats join us, since I am getting miniature goats that won't be able to reach over the fencing.  As this spot is very well shaded by the Oak, I wasn't sure I would get any fruit at all.  However; the determined vines have climbed all the way to the top of the trellis, where I ruthlessly clipped off the growing ends, and is happily beginning to produce.  I probably don't get the harvest I would in a sunny space, but the leafy trellis is a beautiful sight and I have fresh crispy cucumbers every day. 

These are heirloom Lemon Cucumbers.  They are very crisp and never have even a hit of bitterness no matter how old they get, although the seeds get tough when they start to turn really yellow.  I can also now recommend them for producing in the shade.

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