Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I had a baby! Wait, no.

This post is long overdue -- and not what it sounds like.

This is the story of how my phone turned me into a squash. How I lived in a bucket, had a virgin birth, was left for dead, then reborn, and now watch my baby grow up beside me. Proudly. From my bucket.

Let me explain: remember when I found the mystery seed in a baggie? Of course you don't. I hardly remember it. Well, this is that story -- in fast forward:

STEP 1: find seed in baggy. Ponder.
 Find seed in baggy while cleaning out a storage tub. Go "Hmmm..."

STEP 2: plant it. Use bucket because that's all the garden space you have left.
 Plant seed. Use a bucket, because that's all the garden space you have left this late in the season.

STEP 3: go full Dr. Frankenstein and throw hands up in air and shout 'it's aliiiive!'
Throw out your hands like Dr. Frankenstein and shout 'it's aliiiive!'

STEP 4: get sobered by how fast the plant is growing... and how small the bucket is.
STEP 4: 
Get sobered by how fast the plant is growing... and how small the bucket is.

STEP 5: Oh my.
 Oh my.

STEP 6: sing that "boys are back in town" song on loop, mumble-humming the lyrics you forget.
Sing "the boys are back in town" song, mumble-humming the bits you don't know.

STEP 7: step 3, followed by step 6 - but singing the 'I gotta dollar' song from little rascals, substituting squash for dollar.
Repeat STEP 3. Then repeat STEP 6 with 'I gotta dollar' from Little Rascals, substituting squash for dollar.

STEP 8: Fondle lovingly.
STEP 8: 
Fondle lovingly.
STEP 9:  Bisect mercilessly.
STEP 9: 
 Bisect mercilessly.

STEP 13&14 : Give haircut after forgetting photos of step 10 (eating of squash), step 11 (aphid infestation), step 12 (powdery mildew plague). Then leave untended for 5 weeks.
STEP 13&14:
Give haircut after forgetting to photograph STEP 10 (eating of baby squash), STEP 11 (aphid infestation), STEP 12 (powdery mildew plague). Bemoan pathetic looking vine, surely close to death -- make things worse by abandoning for 5 weeks.

STEP 16&17&18&19&20: Repeat step 3; Handle surviving vine gently; Accidentally break surviving vine gently; mummy wrap vine tie tape; water and wait.
STEP 16 - 20:
Return from 5 week absence, finding above. Repeat STEP 3;
 Handle surviving vine gently; accidentally break surviving vine, gently; mummy wrap broken bit with tie tape;
water obsessively; check every five to seven minutes to see if it's grown.

STEP 21&22&23: coil vine in bucket; bury non leafing parts; water and wait.
STEP 21 - 23:
Water more; wait more. Coil what remains of the vine in the bucket, burying the vine and fluffing up the new growth proudly.

STEP 23: repeat step 6
STEP 23 + 24:
Check on stupid bug damage... find forming buds;  Repeat STEP 6.

There you have it!

Silly though it may be, the story of myself is close to my heart.

When she first sprouted, I asked for guesses as to what type of squash she would be. I guessed Pepo. Ennnk, wrong. Dave guessed Moschata. Bingo! Nice one, Dave. From what I can see and taste, she looks like your standard Waltham Butternut. Of course, there's nothing standard about Myself,  I assure you. She's special.

Which brings me (her? us?) to our (mine?) special announcement....

Myself'D, selfed daughter of Myself

Myself'D, selfed daughter of Myself

.... we had a baby!

Or rather... Myself did. With... herself. Whatever.

Since Myself was the only Moschata I grew last year it's pretty likely that Myself is both the Mamma and the Papa of this little cutie. And while I enjoy a good Waltham butternut as much as the next person, this season I'm growing several different Moschata varieties. I want to ensure Myself'D's babies don't end up in a blackhole of inbreeding depression.

Of course, I could just cross Myself'D to herself, or possibly back to Myself ( Myself3 ?) and continue this insanity and naming mayhem... but I think that's deeper into levels of Squash-ception than I'm willing to go. Because though I may not have much of it, I do value what little of my sanity remains!

This year (using no levelheadedness on my part what so ever) I have absolutely packed by yard/garden/cement plot with more vining squash than can ever feasibly fit. And by that, I don't mean "I have seeds for them and hope to grow them the year, oh bother, where ever will they fit?" No no no...  what I mean is "Well shit, I planted them all. They're growing, this is happening. But they're so small and cute right now... we're all going to die."

So! It's going to be the summer of squash here at the Shandy Dandy. Or, more specifically, the summer of smothering vines. If I can find Myself'D amid the chaos, I'll promise to give you update a few months from now. That's pending I can also find my front door and the computer...

Until then,
Happy Planting!


P.S. - if you're wondering about the swiss chard leaves surrounding the sprout, here's the scoop -- I added very rough compost to these beds recently, because I had no more of the good stuff. It was full of pill bugs and cutworms. So I gave them something else to nom on, in the hopes they'll leave Myself'D alone. I'm in a chard glut anyway, so they get the bug nibbled ones. Pill bugs definitely like it, and chew little holes in the leaves, and hide under them during the day. It's easy to grab the whole leaf, scooping up the topsoil underneath, and return dozens of these buggers back to the compost where they can do some good. Cutworms, on the other hand, just get sqweeshed. Rip.


  1. Step 5: beautiful vine, very ornamental. My tubs are orange. No, I didn't pick the color. HD did. Cheap with bails. And, ah, yes, the drill. Who'd a thought plastic could be so resistant?

    1. Step 5 was definitely the highlight. And I honestly go to Lowes just to get blue buckets. I love orange as a color, but not as my garden color. Most of the tubs I've experiments with on the cement part of my yard (Lowes buckets, storage tubs, kiddie pools) can be purchased in some shade of blue. So while it's a silly aesthetic thing, if I have to have plastic in the garden, I at least want it to somewhat match.

      As for drilling, it took me a while to find that 'sweet spot' size. I found small holes easily get plugged by roots and debris. I've found 3/8 or 5/16 is the smallest I feel comfortable going.

  2. I love reading your posts, Day, and they do make me smile. Thanks for taking the time to share their stories and your harvests. I had corn envy over those cobs of coloured corn. We just grow the yellow sort... harvested if we can get to it before the rats and eaten fresh. Looking forward to next week's epic

    1. Very kind of you to say! The corn is always fun to harvest and shell. I'm lucky not to have mammals seeking it out (the squirrels haven't figured out it's edible yet, shh) so the biggest pest I have are the ants who farm aphids along the stalk in in the husk layers. I'm told it can be eaten fresh too, but I haven't tried it yet.

      Ditto on reading next week's epic -- I really enjoy seeing and mentally eating all your cool weather crops that refuse to grow in our heat!

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    1. So it WAS a moschata - I just love a good mystery! And I had quite the fun with my wandering vines last year. I tried (in vain) to keep them contained on the trellises or from running all over their neighbors. Of course it doesn't matter so much for me, because I'm not too concerned about parentage or other niceties. You might be singing 'what's your name, little girl'?

    2. It was a moschata, you nailed it! I fear this season it's going to be less like wandering vines, and more like 'mongolian hoard takeover' vines. But we'll see! Worst case scenario I'll let them climb the fence and they can attack the cars that go down the alley XD And as you say, definitely going to be a lot of hand pollinating and tagging this year!

      ( PS. I've been having some difficulty posting on your blog lately. I left a comment on your most recent seed starting post yesterday, but it still hasn't shown up. I saw that Sue's from this morning has shown up though. I don't think our computers are playing nicely together :( )

    3. It's not going to the spam folder, so it could be the captcha acting up. If it doesn't clear up pls let me know, because you might not be the only one with problems.


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Trolls will be thrown in the compost.