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Fruiting Planting in Late Spring – Practicing Restraint

Yesterday’s planting.  Note just three zucchini seeds, three tromboncino seeds, three cucumber seeds. I’m being restrained!  They are all fresh seeds, no leftovers from last year, and I have been sorting them like this before  taking them out to the shadehouse, so I am getting good germination rates.  I planted into potting mix in the shadehouse, and I shall choose only the strongest one or two of each to plant out into the garden when they are this size.

The rest I shall give away as seedlings, or just recycle the potting mix.

I already have the first of the summer fruiting annuals, planted in late winter, starting to bear.  And two other rounds planted since coming on.  It’s still only late spring, so there are at least a couple more rounds to plant if I want to be harvesting zucchini and cucumbers right through to the first frosts next year.

A lot of the summer fruiting plants tend to be space gobblers.  You stick in just three or four zucchini, doesn’t seem like much, but by the time you give them a few square metres each of space there’s the whole garden filled up, no room for spring onions and beetroot, let alone for another round of zucchini next month. And even using every zucchini recipe in the repertoire –  zucchini fritters for breakfast, frittata for lunch and fricassee for dinner – there are only so many zucchini you can eat, and only so many you can foist on innocent passers by.

I’ve learned. It’s taken me a long time to learn restraint in summer annual planting.   Even with tomatoes I’m starting to learn restraint.  I like to grow enough to bottle and dry some, but  I also like to be fairly diligent about not planting them in the same spots for two years in a row or they start to build up soil bourne diseases.  If I plant too many one year, the next year is lean – last year was a lean year with no bottled tomatoes for winter. Natural consequences.

Only the beans I can go nuts with.  What we don’t eat fresh I let dry on the vine for dried bean dishes.  But even then, I want to leave enough trellis room for at least three more rounds.

So restraint is the mantra.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Elaine November 7, 2011, 3:18 pm

    I’ve read about Zucchini plants being encouraged up a central string similar to the way Tomatoes are grown in commercial greenhouses. Zucchs are reluctant climbers but it could be useful when space is tight.

  • kim November 7, 2011, 4:49 pm

    Good advice, I remember the days when I first started gardening and I would plant a whole packet of seeds for each vegetable. We had vegetables coming out of every space in the house and people were forced to take some home with them even if they didn’t like them.

  • Elaine November 7, 2011, 5:44 pm

    My Dad did that, using the packet speared with a stick as a row marker! You can always compost your excess even if it is a waste of sorts.

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial November 8, 2011, 7:20 am

    Beans! That’s what we’re going to do this year, plant lots of beans! Tomatoes are only growing in pots in an enclosed verandah, as we can’t seem to overcome the fruit fly problem without dusting (too many old established fruit trees in the area). Just three cucumbers planted this year, and no zucchini yet, we must get onto that. I wanted to grow apple cucumbers this year, but Pete only wanted to plant Lebanese ones.

  • Fiona November 8, 2011, 8:29 am

    Wise words Linda and something I am yet to fully come to grips with, but I am trying.

  • Linda November 8, 2011, 8:47 am

    I’m trying mini whites from Diggers this year. They are climbers but not too big a vine, and they were supposedly the winners of the taste test. I had a couple that I planted very late last autumn and they were great.

  • Hazel November 8, 2011, 12:35 pm

    Reatraint? Wots that?

  • Elaine November 8, 2011, 5:09 pm

    Russian Giants, while a tasty Cuke, live on a *huge* vine – they’re not called ‘giant’ for nothing!

  • Linda November 9, 2011, 8:47 am

    Yes, I grow Richmond River Whites which I think are bred from Russian Giants – wonderful prolific crop, and really good non-acid cukes, but you go away for the weekend and come back to find the vine has covered the whole bed and started to climb the house!

  • brenda November 9, 2011, 5:01 pm

    The zuchini give-away problem must be universal. I hear of it everywhere.

    It’s funny then, where I used to live, I really couldn’t get them going. I had six hills. The plants were huge and looked healthy as a horse, beautiful blooms, no fruit. After some study on the matter, I determined there must be a bee shortage. So I learned how to identify the male and female flowers, and paintbrush in hand, I was set to do some pollinating. Then, I got to thinking – I was crawling around in the dirt on my belly, peeking under big leaves, poking around with my paintbrush for the purpose of helping some durn zucchini have sex. That was it. I couldn’t quit laughing, and it was over.

    I’ve shown restraint by not planting a single zucchini since.

    brenda from arkansas

  • Linda November 9, 2011, 5:42 pm

    Hi Brenda. A zucchini pimp eh!

  • brenda November 10, 2011, 2:04 am

    Exactly.

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