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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cucumber Tipi - Part 3

In spring, I covered the tipi with plastic to protect the cucumber sprouts from the cold and the wind -- and the marmots. I should have done it sooner, before a bunch of the sprouts got eaten... there is always more protection to install than I can keep up with.

The shelter really came in handy when Fawn and I got caught in a downpour! 

 
It was raining cats and dogs, but we were cozy with the cucumbers. 
 Above is the one start that I grew inside the house this year, a much-needed backup plan for my direct seed experiment (below). 

The direct seeding was a feasible trial in terms of temperature and timing, but a drawback I hadn't considered was vulnerability to wildlife. Indoor starts have an advantage in that department, being away from marmots during their most tender stage.

A great place to ride out the storm!
The spiral is the heavy gauge trellis wire I installed, 
featured in Cucumber Tipi Part 2.

When my sprouts got eaten (before the plastic went up), I wondered if all this preparation would result in a live tipi after all. Then I experienced another serendipitous provision: my friend Harris said that he had some extra Armenian cucumber starts -- ones he did not need! He offered them to me, and I felt like the luckiest garden lady around, driving home that day with those green beauties at my side. Above, you can see them freshly planted in the ground.

While planting the new starts, I noticed a plethora of earthworms in every shovel full. In a garden that had absolutely no worms in the beginning, it has been really fun to see them proliferate. They particularly liked the alpaca manure I laid down on the tipi floor, under the cardboard, in Cucumber Tipi Part 1. There is nothing like manure and cardboard to make earthworms happy. 

These starts made my heart soar -- a second chance!

When we entered a record-breaking heatwave at the end of June, I knew the plastic would have to go. Walking into the tipi was like walking into an oven.

Free!


I pulled the plastic back, and as much as I wanted to leave it open, I didn't want to lose my second round of plants. I put sheer fabric up to make the plants less obvious to marmots passing by.  (left two photos: July 2nd; right: July 19th)

 
Above right: Fawn and her friends, looking for cucumbers on July 16th.

From flowers to food...

At last our favorite garden snack begins to form!

It's a dream come true. A cucumber tipi that you can enter to escape the sun's heat, and to munch on the crispy cool goodness of summer's bounty.

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