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Sikkim Cucumber

sikkim cucumber

While growing up on a little hobby farm in west Petaluma, my family had a friendly acquaintance from down the road who we'd hire to mow the field. Herman the hermit, he was called, lived in a small part of a big dilapidated farmhouse. The rest of the house was relegated to storing either stacks of old newspapers or piles of deer antlers. I remember standing among the antlers in a large upstairs room and looking out at the tops of grass that reached the second story window.

In Herman's modest sitting room was the wood stove in which he burned newspapers and on top of which he cooked his meals. He lived a frugal life, though, while he may have been known as a hermit, he by no means was a recluse. His neighbors knew him well as a friendly and giving man. I'll always remember his generosity, the boxes of chocolate around holiday time, and summertime hive trays of honey he brought over to put on a cookie sheet, slice out the dripping comb, and fill whatever empty jars we had around. Pinned on the wall around his wood stove was a collection of newspaper clippings of him with his award-winning pumpkins of monstrous size. Wandering out into his garden was like going through a miniaturizing portal, that is, you would feel shrunken in comparison to the size of the plants and produce surrounding you. It's true I was a little person at the time, but I did have some experience with what was a usual size for such things. His pumpkins of unusual size must have made an impression on me, as I still have a fascination with vegetables that are strange or larger than what you'd normally see in the market, where homogeneity and shelf-life are the chosen characteristics.

How that intrigue influences my garden now, is in my choosing of seeds. It combines with my passion for rare varieties of heirloom vegetables. This is a "sikkim" cucumber I started in the spring from a Baker Creek seed and grew in my new backyard. It surprised me finding it hidden in the crowded disorderly jungle there. Having been focused on remodeling the inside of the house in order to move, I had thrown all my starts into one planter box just to get them in the ground, with not much care for each one's needs. I'm excited for the enormous "candy roaster" squashes that have just about taken over the place!

cucumber (2), garden (21), harvest (5), remodel (1), seeds (3), story (1)

Degree (56), Garden (4)

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