I’m getting that first terrible inkling that organic farming is not going to be as easy as I thought it would be. And I didn’t go into this naively. I bought the books, I attended gardening seminars at the local nurseries, I almost gave it up because it all sounded so complicated. Then I took the plunge and just planted some stuff. Easy stuff, like tomatoes, corn, peppers and cukes. Bam! Bumper crop. No pests. And all — I can now admit — with me not doing much more than eyeballing the drip irrigation system every now and then and picking produce. I now know that this is one of Nature’s sophisticated survival mechanisms. Produce sprouts as if by magic with minimal effort THE FIRST YEAR YOU PLANT. Now you’re hooked. Then the second and third season, all the weird and challenging stuff happens. But you’re in it now. You can’t quit. You still remember the taste of victory (and fresh vine-ripened tomatoes). So you devote more time, tears and sweat every succeeding year. You become a slave to your garden. You fret over it. You bring it offerings of mulch, compost tea, worms and ladybugs. Anything to make it love you like it used to. You’ve become pathetic. It’s now an abusive relationship. But you can’t quit. Your garden has you just where it wants you. Bastard!
Before I go to an Abused Gardener’s Shelter or a support group, I’m reaching out to anyone who knows more than I do about gardening (and that would be everyone.) Can you tell me what I’m growing? Or why it’s growing the way it is. Oh, I know what I planted. It’s just not what’s coming up. Take that stuff Oscar is standing on. It kind of looks like ground cover and it showed up in two of the raised beds. I may not know what it is, but I know for sure that I planted something different in each bed. So this thing just showed up.
I know I’m not crazy. I know what I planted: watermelons and big juicy beefsteak tomatoes. Where are they? Our trails man and super-environmentalist John the Baptist is blaming Monsanto. But then he always blames Monsanto. He’s convinced, even though I swear I bought organic, that the tomatoes were irradiated and are now sterile and that the seed company did a bait-and-switch on the alleged watermelons.
And about those alleged watermelons. You may think that the easiest way to end the “what is it” controversy is to split one open. I’ve thought of that. I had my eye on one that looked as if it might be getting ripe enough. Overnight it disappeared. Gone. A 5 lb vegetable was boosted up over the six foot fence around the raised beds and carried off without a trace.
I’m blaming the foxes. They were probably sent here by Monsanto.
But seriously, folks, can anyone tell me what I’m growing here?
Your watermelon looks like some sort of squash.
Looks like a pumpkin or type of acorn squash to me. The other one-the leaves look familiar but can’t remember what it is. We have three volunteer tomato plants-didn’t plant seeds-have no idea where they came from.
Purslane is the weed in the 1st photo you have for identification. Here’s the good news: it’s common in rich, fertile soil. Yank that junk out by the root early to keep in under control.
The 2nd image is a squash of some sort. Looks like you might have something to carve at Halloween if you can keep any on the vine.
Since you consider this gardening thing is like a human relationship try ignoring it. Sometimes when you put too much effort into something it backfires.
Tell JrB to not get his robes in a knot. Junk happens in nature. Settle back and enjoy – or get busy weeding.
Hope this helps.
PS this gave me a teeth baring laugh. Thanks.
Totally looks like a squash to me. Sometimes it is possible to get bad seeds, perhaps they weren’t stored right or whatever but strange they would all be bad. Our garden looks like a jungle right now.
Thanks everyone. I thought it looked like a squash, but I can’t imagine where it came from. I’ve never planted squash and this was all uncultivated, never tilled land before. So where would a squash come from? Unless John the Baptist is right and it’s the old seed packet bait-and-switch.
I mean what are the odds that, with no squash for miles around, they would end up right in my raised beds. And what happened to those watermelons I planted?
And Maybelline, you are the second person to identify the mystery plant as Purslane. I read a funny thing about it. It’s sometimes called “The Dolly Parton Plant” because it blooms 9 to 5.
Birds have been scattering seeds for a long, long time. This could be the source of the mystery squash.
Weeds love good soil too. Most successful plants on earth.
Whatever stole your squash to enjoy somewhere else just left seeds for next season.
The squash theft is baffling.
One good way to sterilize the soil is to put black plastic over it. It cooks any weeds and their seed to death.
Thanks King, Not sure I want to sterilize the soil — what with all the money I’m pouring (literally) into compost tea and soil amendments and red worms. I just can’t figure out what critter could be strong enough to boost a 5 lb squash over a six foot fence and leave no trace. In the past, critters that got in, ate on site, then left. Unless my varmints are human…
Lisa, think you hit it on the head. Your squash thief seems more likely to be of the two legged variety & not a four legged citter. Either that or you may consider a 12 guage shotgun over your 4.10 if you have a vegtable loving beastie that can jump a 6′ fence with a 5lb squash.
Lisa, there’s a way to use black plastic to kill weeds without truly sterilizing the soil. Contact your Sonoma County Extension office for detail.*
You got a .410? I thought you bought a 12 ga.
*Yes, I was being a jackass, but they probably know the method.
I realize this is about 5 years too late, but purslane is edible; we use it in salads, but it can be (by others, I’ve opted out) made into a pesto of sorts too.