February 20-30: Sow dill
March 15-30: Sow cucumber, watermelon, pumpkin.
As long as the dill produces, I’ll be taking cuttings. Heads of dill will get washed and dried, then frozen for pickles throughout the year. The plan is to finalize at least 2 recipes this year, ones that I’ll enjoy making throughout the year, and I think dill is the key to it. If I get enough cucumbers, I might give fermented ones a try again. Until I know my yield, it will be small batch, vinegar-fermented cucumbers. If I decide to plant them, I may make summer squash vinegar pickles like the ones I tried locally.
There is an interesting story behind my pumpkins this year. A seed grew out of my compost last year, and two gourds formed on the vine. One wasn’t pollinated (did not produce seeds), the other was hand-pollinated by me. A local woman, who is the admin for the largest social media gardening group in Tucson, gave me a carving-pumpkin vine. I originally thought I’d be swapping only pollen with her, because I’m a big geek. It ended up that she did not care and just gave me a whole plant! I got a chance to cross pollinate my vine, and now I’ll be planting those seeds (shown above) to see what the result looks like. Hopefully big fruits, but I’m willing to settle for neat color. This next project is more dubious than just a plain old botany experiment.
Depending on what the World Health Organization says about this Zika virus (I’m optimistic), I want to grow cucumbers in a five gallon bucket using aquaponics. I’m close enough to the border of Mexico and Arizona that somebody could fly up with it. The mosquito that transmits the virus has been seen in a suburb of Phoenix, but the virus has not. It looks like my dry area is not susceptible, and I’m very confident in my chances. The only other thing I’m worried about is ANY mosquitoes breeding in the water, but I think I’ll use mosquito net and take the chance.
Blog post topics you’ll see this year include:
- Gastritis/Coeliac disease
- Cross pollination and what to expect
- Pickle recipes
See you all soon! Happy almost-spring!