We grew cucamelons from seed this year. I’d been meaning to grow them since I read about them in James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution when it published and I thought they’d go down a treat with the kids.
I’ll be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed by the flavour. The vines were cute, the fruits were adorable looking but the taste and texture was that of a slightly sour cucumber, so I don’t think I’d bother growing them for taste.
Having said that I will be trying to grow them again next year because when I cleared out the pot I was growing them in to reuse the compost for some cuttings I found…. cucamelon tubers! I hadn’t even realised you could grow cucamelons from tubers, I thought they had to be grown from seed but from the size of these they must have been putting a lot of energy into developing their tubers.
So now of course, I’m going to have to grow them from tubers to see if they crop more heavily in their second year, assuming they survive the winter….
The sight of seedlings lifting their heads up from the soil always fills me with hope. No matter what else is going on, how busy or stressed I am, how many things I have to do, I always feel better for sitting down with some soil and seeds in the evening when the children have gone to bed and sowing some seeds.
Even though I know they take time, I check the pots constantly for any hint of the ever so slightly fuzzy white emerging from the darkness, the shot of green that promises baby leaves. And when they appear it always feels like the best sort of surprise. Flowers are beautiful, but there’s something about the elegance and hopefulness of the tiniest seedling that stirs my heart.
I’ve currently got two boxes full of seed sat in my utility room. Some I’ve bought, some I’ve been given, some I’ve collected. But when they start sprouting I find myself constantly on the lookout for more seeds so I can grow someone the perfect chilli for their cooking, the ideal calendula for their raised bed, the happiest sunflowers to pop in their border, I want to share the joy of those seeds.
So while the stormy winds are making it impossible to get outside, I sit in the conservatory, pretending that I too am soaking up the weak sunlight through the windows watching my seedlings emerge with a cup of tea.
I’ve been pretty quiet about my plans for our wildlife garden while I’ve been focusing on my goals for sustainable living in 2019, but be assured that the wildlife garden is still a really key feature in this.
Planting a tree, child’s play!
We actually planted a cherry tree in the garden on Sunday, but it was such a bitterly cold day, no one was much in the mood to take a photograph! We went for Stella on a colt rootstock. The blossom will be great for pollinators, it will help maintain privacy between our garden and our neighbours, and as long as the children get to eat a few cherries when it fruits, I won’t mind the birds having a share.
This is the second tree that we’ve planted since we moved in, the first was a Scrumptious apple tree to replace my beloved Scrumptious the First who we had to leave behind when we moved house. I’ve also got plans for an orchard of patio fruit trees to green up a paved area and our neighbours fence. It’s budget dependent as to how I’ll progress with that, but we have a Victoria plum on extremely dwarfing rootstock to form the first part of that because our eldest was so taken with our neighbour’s windfall plums that they were kind enough to let her keep in the summer.
We live in a country that’s quite prone to flooding so I’m hoping that by planting some more trees it will help contribute to reducing the flood risk. I’m also conscious that the Committee on Climate Change has said that tree planting in the UK must double by 2020 to help lock up carbon and reduce flood risks so our tree planting in our medium-sized garden is to help this. Even if they are less than a drop in an ocean of necessary change, they’ll make the garden look nicer, will provide food and shelter for wildlife and hopefully some fruit for us in time.