Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘produce garden

Garden Lesson

with 5 comments

Of all the things we have learned in our first year of growing a produce garden, one discovery is standing out larger than all the others, literally.

Cyndie was thinking of the reputation zucchini has for growing like crazy and producing more squash than home gardeners can find uses for. Instead, she naively opted for an alternative that sounded more petite: Cupcake squash.


There is nothing petite about the beast that we ended up with. It quickly climbed up and over her perimeter fencing and continues to sprawl unconstrained with some of the largest leaves we’ve ever seen. At first, all this incredible growth wasn’t producing any squash, so Cyndie did some research and discovered she needed to pollinate them herself. The bees weren’t getting it done naturally. After reading how to identify the male and female flowers, she armed herself with a cotton swab and set about giving nature an assist.

The results were soon evident.

They may be small like cupcakes, but it appears this alternate squash can be just as prolific as the prodigious abundance of the more common zucchini.

Cyndie’s looking up a recipe for cupcake squash bread right now.

I’m looking forward to her taming this cupcake monster that is taking over such a large swath of our garden and surroundings.


Written by johnwhays

August 30, 2020 at 9:36 am

Summer Growth

leave a comment »

We’ve got beans and peppers coming in from Cyndie’s first produce garden ever!

Last night for dinner we ate cauliflower from the garden, too. We’ve eaten some beets, potatoes, and carrots. Cyndie has used celery from her garden in a stir-fry and sandwich spreads.

We are enjoying bountiful summer growth.

Meanwhile, the fledgling chickens are growing into their half of the coop with ease. They wasted no time making their way to the two main roost branches where they happily perch on the same level with the three adult hens who come inside every night.

Last night we finished securing a fenced run that will allow the younger chickens to venture outside for the first time. This afternoon we will begin the exercise of establishing their pattern of being outside during the day and returning to the coop at dusk.

Based on previous experience, it involves a fair amount of chicken-wrangling the first few times that I’m not very excited about. Here’s hoping they figure out the drill as quickly and easily as they have mastered everything they’ve achieved thus far.



Written by johnwhays

August 25, 2020 at 6:00 am

Garden Growth

leave a comment »

I should never doubt Cyndie just because she does things differently than I would. Her all-encompassing dive into big-time produce gardening has been nothing short of incredible to witness. Where I would have considered planting just a few things to find out what works and what doesn’t, she planted more things than I can count.

Cyndie just counted them for me: 23.

Countable, maybe, but more than I can keep track of. I don’t know how she does it.

I have been eating fresh pea pods in meals for the last five days in a row.

Meanwhile, the wild black raspberry bushes finally sprouted fruit and Cyndie has been picking berries in addition to tending her gardens.

The growth of produce around here this year has been a wonder to behold. We’ve gone from zero to plenty!



Written by johnwhays

July 9, 2020 at 6:00 am

Starting Big

leave a comment »

In the beginning, I was asked to build a terrace wall for Cyndie to have a produce garden. Seemed like a good idea to me. We talked about creating two levels in the space she wanted to use, but decided to focus on just the upper level to start. We have never grown our own food before, so I suggested we start small and learn what works in that location.

Just a suggestion.

The other day I saw no less than 21 different names listed in a text where Cyndie described what she has planted.

So, that one terrace I started building has been dwarfed by subsequent construction Cyndie undertook on her own. Fencing and netting, all hers, three different locations.

Plants are in the ground and awaiting some mulch. Woodchips are something I can contribute to her new project. The rest has spun up so quick it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

When Cyndie bursts headlong into her projects, I tend to get out of the way. I am inclined toward sequential thinking and prone to plotting each step in advance before taking action. Cyndie operates more randomly and takes action simultaneously to figuring out a plan.

I guess we serve as a classic example of the attraction of opposites.

Here’s hoping she meets with an incredible success that exceeds imagination come harvest time.

I’ll be watching to see if my terrace does its job. The rest will be gravy.



Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2020 at 6:00 am