Saturday, August 16, 2008

cool as a cucumber

my first homegrown cucumber was cool, crisp, sweet, and oh-so-attractive (see above). this cucumber traveled a long hard road before making it to my cutting board today. at times i wasn't sure my sad little plants would ever bear fruit. the first problem was the pair of blue jays that would swoop down onto the bed and try to take the little seedlings away with them. chris and i fixed that problem with some bamboo, twine, and a little bird netting. but there were more bumps in the road...the seedlings were refusing to grow up, they were so very small for what seemed an eternity, then they looked a bit yellow, then a bit limp. i remained patient and optimistic as i watered them regularly, added some more compost around the base of the plants, and crossed my fingers. the cucumber vines are now bright green and sprawling. and today, hiding beneath some of those bright green (and prickly) leaves, i uncovered this little gem - fantasic!

when i recall the backyard vegetable garden of my childhood i think of our little cucumbers and the pickles my mom made with them. i'll definitely follow in mom's footsteps and be experimenting with some cucumber pickles of my own, but i must wait until i have more than one small cucumber. my time will come, soon i'm sure.

the cucumber is one of my favorite vegetables. it's VERY versatile, eaten in many cultures, and it tastes great without any prep - just slice and eat...done. i have always thought of the cucumber as a vegetable, but since it has an enclosed seed and develops from a flower, it is technically a fruit. as i understand, the term "vegetable" is not scientific and the usage of the word is subjective, so, for now, i'll continue to think of these green little guys as veggies.

i'll leave you with a lovely poem that i found today. it was written by a girl named Alysha. it seems there was a poetry competition and the children were asked to write a poem about a vegetable. Alysha, who must also think of the cucumber as a veggie, responded with this poem. you can read more vegetable poems writtem by children here:
poetry zone

Cool Cucumber
by Alysha Bhatti (aged 8)

Cucumber with noodles
Pizza or rice.
Even on its own
Cucumber tastes nice.

Cucumber in chutney
With yogurt and spice
Diced or grated
Or in a slice.

Cucumber with prawn
Cucumber with fish
Cucumber is the king
Of every salad dish.

Cucumber for hunger,
Cucumber for thirst
In this competition
Cucumber comes first.

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