Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Will the Swiss Chard Like My Cucumbers?

This picture has nothing to do with this post,
but these irises are in bloom now at my fence
in my home garden.

Flash. You know you are really a chronic garden-aholic, when your first thought of the day is whether or not swiss chard is a companion to cucumbers. It was not quite 4:30 this morning when I started pondering my next move in the garden. One thought led to another, including trying to figure out if  I can get a little planting time in this evening after work and before dinner has to be on the table. And never mind, the crush of assignments piling up on my desk at work, which doesn't keep me awake anymore (yay!). I know it will be there when I get back there in the morning.

I am up with the birds again and running around on the Internets searching for the perfect plant to be BFF to my pickling cucumbers. Now, nasturtium, which I plan to pop into the soil just as the edges and around my Putter Fort and next to my neighbor in plot number 25. . . (By the way, I was coming home, waiting at the light on East West Highway next to the Fenton Street Garden. Craning my neck, I could see that the owner of 25 was in the garden. She hadn't shown up at any other time and I was anxious to meet my plot neighbors to either side. I was dressed for the office and it was raining a slow trickle and I actually considered running over there in my heels just to say hello. Plot-aholic!)

Okay, back to nasturtium and cukes. These plants work in tandem with one another. I can plant the nasturtium, as well, on the tomato side of my plot/fort. They will deter aphids and other pests and they will improve growth and flavor to both cucumbers and tomatoes. (By the way, cukes and tomatoes are NOT BFFs (that means "Best Friends Forever". So I have the two plants planted on either side of the fort, separated by my hallway path) And I want good flavor. Besides, I love the taste of nasturtium flowers in my salads. It's always a surprise to my guests when I say, "yes, you can eat that."

But the chard and the cukes are not good mates. Chard wants to be close to tomatoes and beans, not cukes. So any plans for chard have to be reconsidered. Meanwhile, I have this open space next to the cukes. What to do? My friend, Anne, suggests bush beans. I've already got pole beans planted in the back room of the fort. And frankly, I just don't really love beans all that much to have so many growing. Radishes and dill could work. But every time, I've tried to grow radishes, I pull them out of the ground to harvest and something has gone terribly wrong. They never pop out looking like anything I've paid for in the supermarket or at the farmers market. Under my soil, they twist and turn and morph themselves into a terrifying vegetable that looks like an old man's junk. Yuck, who wants that at table?

My friend, Anne, also suggested okra. I have no idea what an okra plant looks like. Oh Miss Google, would kindly show me an okra plant? Holy crap! That one grew to nine feet. Good gracious, I don't think the plot could handle a nine-foot inhabitant. Now, while I love okra and their crazy gooey mess that seeps from their delicious seed-filled pods, every pic I've just clicked on is showing something just a little too gynormous. But the okra is a very good friend to the eggplant and I have eggplant growing that are clamoring to have a buddy. I could try okra at the back fence and if they got too big, I'd just take them out.

Oh, I could do this endlessly. Time to eat breakfast. The Putterer

1 comment:

  1. Hey Beth - great post! A little correction: it is NOT East-West ighway that borders the garden. It is Rt. 410 or Burlington Avenue at that point. EW H-way stops at Georgia Ave and the name picks up again at the PG border. I try to straighten this misconception out whenever I see it, though I KNOW it is a sissyphian battle, because far too many folks are getting lost of Rt 410 by others giving then wrong names and directions and I'm tired of having my gardening time taken away to help these poor lost souls who stop at my corner in tears and frustration.