See how it's spilling out over the sides? I need to contain this beast.
For reference, here's what it looked like just before we left for the Outer Banks (late July).
My herbs (cilantro, basil and mint) were completely overgrown and sprouting flowers, which I'm pretty sure is not supposed to happen. I went through and trimmed them back, so hopefully they'll continue growing the good stuff while cooling off on the non-tasty parts.
After discovering the monster cucumber before I left, I knew I'd be coming home to plenty more after vacation. I couldn't have been more right on the subject.
The garden was overflowing with mondo cukes - none quite as monstrous as the first one I picked a couple of weeks ago, but not much smaller! I grabbed my little canvas elephant bag and went out to pick out the goods like I was at a farmer's market.
Only, at a farmer's market I doubt I would have come home with 17 gigantic cucumbers at one time....
Thankfully, I eat cucumbers nearly every day (on salads, as a snack dipped in hummus, mixed with quinoa, all by themselves...), so after giving a few away I shouldn't have a problem polishing these puppies off on my own. I've already eaten one, and am happy to report they are not only edible, but they've got a great flavor and spectacular crunch. Success!
I also harvested a few more banana peppers.
And most of the jalapenos were ready to go, as well! Though I think they should have been picked last week, as their outside skins have cracked a little. I tried one a couple nights ago and it was still good, so a little cosmetic issue is no big deal to me.
I also picked a big bag of green beans, which I'm sorry to say I must have forgotten to photograph! They, too, turned out perfectly tasty.
AND NOW... for the most important discovery of all: I've finally figured out what the "mystery plant" is!!! The plant has completely taken over the entire garden, stretching its vines wherever they have room to grow. When I first looked at how much it had exploded, I couldn't find any evidence of its produce at all. Was this just a crazy weed growing out of control??
And then, I looked a little closer.... and there it was...
Gumshoes, I had pretty much given up any hope of watermelon growing in the garden at this point. I didn't have high hopes with them as soon as I planted the seeds... In fact, my hopes were so low I planted a bunch of seeds just hoping a couple of them might sprout.
I guess I should have had more faith in myself and my garden, because folks, THEY. HAVE. SPROUTED.
Peaking out through the tangle of vines are probably 8-10 baby watermelons of all sizes. The biggest is about the size of a softball right now, and the smallest (that I could actually see) is about the size of a golf ball.
I'm incredibly happy the watermelons actually turned out (or... are turning out. We'll see how they continue growing), but I am going to be up to my ears in watermelon in about a month! If you're in the area and have a hankering for some juicy, delicious watermelon, I am officially your hookup. There's no way I'll be able to keep on top of these on my own.
With the garden as crowded as it is now, I'm not sure if I'll be able to fit in any fall produce. I was hoping for maybe some squash or a couple of pumpkins or something, but I don't know if it's in the cards. I've got my hands full now!
But at this point, I think it's safe to say my first stab at gardening has been a success. Aside from my poor strawberry plants, which never really produced anything that didn't get gobbled up by critters first, all the crops have flourished. Even though growing season isn't over yet, I'm already thinking about what I'll plant next year! I'll definitely put more careful thought into it and be more organized next time around. But for my first summer as a gardener, I'm absolutely thrilled with the results thusfar.