cucumber, watermelon, and some arugula

As I get older I absolutely love my early mornings. Don’t think I’m one of those people who walks around going, ‘I’m so old’ all the time for saying this: but one of my favorite things is getting home early {like 10:30 or 11} from having a couple of drinks, going to bed, and waking up at 8am on Saturday morning to stare at my vegetable garden. I love to look at it. I’ve put a lot of work to make it produce. There’s also something so rewarding about growing your own food.

Until this point, stare is all I could do since I had no fruit. Now is not the case. We’re getting a good yield from the tomatoes so far. We’re finally getting jalapenos. I’m still waiting for the bell peppers to come on. They’ve taken a little longer than I expected. But, who cares. There is enough fruit all over the place at this point.

I’m excited about everything. But I wanted to showcase a few veggies that have been producing later than the tomatoes: cucumber, watermelon, and arugula. The cucumbers vine over the edge of the raised garden. I’d never grown them before, so I was skeptical as to how much they would actually produce. Fortunately, there was no need to worry. These ‘Elite 8’ cucumbers are producing like crazy. I picked three off the vine this morning, as well as one last week. They are a very mild, sweet flavor. They’re not a pickling cucumber. However, I’d like to make pickle slices out of them and can them.

The watermelon are planted in a large ‘pot’. When I say pot, I mean a huge aluminum light shade from the oil field. They make awesome planting vessels. I’ve never grown watermelon either. I figured they would fruit. But my main concern was planting them a proper distance from the cucumber to avoid cross pollination. I guess we’ll find out if it worked soon enough….because the vines are busting out with little tiny, baby watermelons. They’re a ‘Sugar Baby’ variety. The melon is small compared to normal sizes like a ‘Crimson Giant’, and very sweet. If all of the fruits get to full maturity, I envision a lot of chilled watermelon soup, watermelon ceviche, and watermelon gratinata in my future.

Last, but certainly not least: arugula. I planted a small patch next to the tomatoes. I harvested all of it this morning because the tomato plant is so huge, it’s blocking all of the sunlight. I love arugula. I love it in salad, I love it as pesto, I love it on sandwiches, I love it. That nutty, mustardy, spicy flavor, goes with anything. I’ll kind of let it be for now until fall. Once we take our tomatoes out, I’ll plant a giant row if it as well as other greens. I see things that need improvement for next year. But, for my first attempt at a very large raised bed, I think this has been a pretty good yield.

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