I just got back from meeting someone who, unlike us, has lots of squash this year and was willing to share…

… her mutants!

She didn’t even plant them. They came up on their own!

Two of them are a type of zucchini, in their winter squash stage. The other stripy ones are squash and pumpkins that cross pollinated. Yes, I know pumpkins are a type of squash, but they get their own category. 😁 I was told that 2 of them that have the darkest green are ready to eat now.

I was also gifted a big bag of spinach and beet greens! Our beets are doing so poorly this year, the greens were unusable, and our fall spinach are still trying to come up.

It should be interesting to see how these taste!

Now… how would one prepare a mutant squash? She said to just use them like pumpkins. So…

… pie?

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: late season growth progress

We have been really fortunate with the frost holding off so far. If the long range forecasts are right, we won’t get a frost for at least two more weeks, possibly longer. Other areas in our province have already had their first frost, so I am really thankful that it’s held off in our area so far.

The continued mild temperatures is giving the garden more time to recover and progress, and we even have some new little surprises this morning!

We’ve got two more Ozark Nest Egg gourds forming! That makes for a total of three. I did not see these two when I checked the garden beds yesterday evening, so this is pretty much overnight growth.

This is one of the new ones, from outside the fence. They have such pretty flowers. 🙂

The Tennessee Dancing Gourds are one I don’t have much concern over. Though there are a lot of little gourds developing still, there are quite a few “large” ones like this, that have reached their full size, but are still ripening on the vine.

One of the few remaining Halona melons came off its vine this morning. There are a couple of somewhat larger ones left that might have enough time to fully mature, plus a few more tiny ones that won’t.

In the background of the photo above, you can see the biggest Pixie melon in its hammock. These guys could really use the extra time, it looks like.

We’ve still got Red Kuri developing, and they are growing fast at this stage – and you can even see a new squash developing in one of the photos.

The mutant is my favourite! 😀 I’m just fascinated by it. It’s shape is different than the other Red Kuri, which can be expected with cross pollination, but it is also getting bigger than the others. If this is the result of cross pollination with the nearby Teddy squash, I would have expected it to be smaller, not bigger! The Teddy squash are a miniature acorn squash and their mature size should be smaller than the Red Kuri. For a hybrid to be bigger than either parent type seems quite unusual. I hope this has time to fully mature, because I really want to see how it turns out!

Speaking of Teddy squash…

We have another new baby! Of the two plants, the one that had only a single squash developing, now has two.

The other plant still has four developing squash, with the one in the photo being the biggest.

While checking the Crespo squash, I was able to find an open line of sight to get a picture of the one developing fruit that I’ve been able to see so far. It should be interesting to see how far it gets, before the frost kills it all. We certainly won’t get the large, green, lumpy pumpkins we are supposed to, but even a little one will be interesting to see.

The cucamelons are an odd one for this year. The plants are growing up the fence rather well, will plenty of blossoms and fruit beginning to develop. Unfortunately, most never get past the size you see in the photo above. They just drop off.

I did find a single, mature cucamelon. Which I ate. 😀 It’s the first larger one I’ve seen in quite some time. This suggests a pollination problem, unfortunately.

And finally, we have our potato bags.

I’m not sure what to make of these! They just don’t seem to be dying back. Oh, the two varieties at the far end are looking a bit like they are dying back, but they also got hit the hardest by the grasshoppers. The two fingerling varieties just keep on growing!

When we first decided to use the feed bags to grow the potatoes, I expected to continually add soil over time. It was after learning that all four varieties are determinate, not indeterminate, that I changed my mind. They would not benefit from having soil continually built up along the stems, so only a single layer was added to protect the developing potatoes from light, and that’s it. The purple fingerlings, however, just keep getting bigger and bigger. Which leads me to think that these may actually be indeterminate potatoes, and would have benefited from continually adding more soil. I don’t know. It should be interesting to see how many potatoes we get when we do harvest them. I don’t image we will be getting many, but we shall see. If we decide to go with grow bags again next year, we will have to make sure to choose indeterminate varieties, which means finding a source for seed potatoes that actually labels them as determinate or indeterminate.

Until this year, I didn’t even know that tomatoes had those labels, never mind things like potatoes!

It has definitely been a year of learning!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: assessing the corn damage

Well, I’ve cleaned up the mess in the Montana Morado corn.

There isn’t much of it left. 😦

I decided to shuck what cobs I could find.

Get a load of this little mutant corn!

There are three tiny cobs growing out the base of the main one – and they were all developing kernels!

What a loss. 😦

I considered the possibility that the damage was done by raccoons, but they would have actually eaten the corn, not just knocked over the stalks. None of these have been nibbled on. Which puts me back to thinking “cat fight” as the most likely cause of damage.

When I first ordered these seeds, I thought I was getting a variety of corn from Peru that was being successfully grown in the US. However, the info on the website changed, and it turned out this is a variety that was created in the US from glass gem corn. In the cobs on the left, you can see that some are more blue than purple, and others are more red.

I found a source for the Peruvian variety that I thought I was getting. For next year, I want to get those and try again.

With better critter protection!

That purple has some real staying power. It won’t wash off! 😀

The Re-Farmer

The New Mutant

I found this guy… these guys?… this morning.

It was on the same plant as the other mutant squash that I’m leaving to get big.

Such an adorable little mutant. 😀

There have not been as many squashes to pick lately, but there has been a surge of male flowers blooming right now – and the pollinators are just loving it. So I am expecting another burst of new squash before the season ends. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

My favorite mutant

While doing my morning rounds and picking more squash, I always check on my favorite mutant sunburst squash.

It looks like, where it rests against a leaf or stem (which I’ve moved to take the picture), it turned yellow, while the exposed parts are green.

I find myself torn between wanting to pick it, and seeing if it’s any different on the inside and if it tastes any different, or leaving it to grow, to see how big it gets, and let it to go to seed. 😀

I think I’m leaning towards leaving it. 🙂

My husband and I will be heading into the city soon, for his appointment at the pain clinic. I figure it’ll take about 1 hour, 45 minutes, to get there, so we’re leaving 2 hours early. How long the appointment will be, I have no idea. Then there’s going to be the drive back.

This is going to be very difficult on my husband. For medical appointments, he tends to skip his quick release painkillers (which are “take as needed”), so that his mind is clearer. What a choice to have to make: reduce the pain, but be in a brain fog, or have a clearer mind, but with increased pain.

I really hope they can help him get this pain under control. This is no way to live.

With us being gone for most of the day, I’ll have to remember to ask the girls to freeze some of the sunburst squash we’ve got so much of right now. 🙂

The Re-Farmer