This priest’s gardening mistakes


Sixty years old. My first time gardening. Mistakes are bound to be made:

  • Never having planted squarrrsh, I didn’t know how expansive they are, how much they hog the sun, putting up an impenetrable canopy. Pretty much all my cucumbers have bitten the dust, planted too near the squarrrsh. Cucumbers can climb. They don’t mind being in seed-boxes. So, they’ll get the seed boxes next year.
  • The squarrrsh are doing… um… waaay tooo well. Unlike the cucumbers, they don’t need to be near a fence. And now I know they do NOT do well as they could if they were NOT to be in seed boxes. The branches break off at the edge of the seed boxes, exposing the wide-open tunnels of the inner branches to all sorts of critters. So, next year, no seed boxes for squarrrsh.
  • The tomatoes are doing well. There is still one without one tomato. Others have half a dozen already on the way, some tiny, some tennis ball sized. The tomato cages I put over the just planted plants were put down… um…. upside down! What do I know?! Obviously nothing. Such beginner mistakes. But barring plagues and moulds and rust and such, it looks like I’ll be getting at least some tomatoes. There are, among my 14 plants, some just a few feet high, some over five feet, now some 55, make that 60 tomatoes. But my neighbors laugh at my upside down cages. :-)
  • I planted a squarrrsh plant right in the midst of the asparagus forest, making it about impossible to see the new asparagus. But that will be corrected next year. The cucumbers will go with the asparagus. It’s a space thing.
  • The October Beans never appeared at all. The seeds either didn’t germinate because I planted them way too deep, or rotted for the same reason, or were eaten by critters for the same reason. There’s a reader of the blog who asked for such seeds years ago… if he hasn’t planted them — Hey! — send them back! I’m gonna try to grow these again next spring, which isn’t that far away. 82 Third Street; Andrews, NC, 28901, USA!
  • The biggest mistake was experimenting with spaghetti squarrrsh seeds. I dumped the seeds in the ground with no fertilizer, no extra care, no special soil. Nothing. They exploded are now huge, taking over the house. As you can see from the picture above, I’m guiding them along the top of a two-foot high wire fence. Just in that picture you can already count three spaghetti squarrrshes. They get huge, like a small watermelon, weighing in at four to eight pounds each. Yikes! My question: should I rip these vines off the top of the fence and place them on the ground? And actually, it’s already too late, as some lengths of the vine itself is woven into the fence and can’t possibly be removed. A huge mistake? or is this still alright?


Filed under Gardening

9 responses to “This priest’s gardening mistakes

  1. Aussie Mum

    Father, you could create a sling for each spaghetti squash as it begins to get heavy, attaching each end of that sling to your fence (making like a little hammock of sorts for each squash) to give them the support they need when growing off the ground. Growing up a fence has its advantages because squash are more likely to rot if resting on the ground; it just takes a bit more work. The following link is to an article showing slings using 2 kinds of material. It is important to use stretchy material (e.g. part of an old tee-shirt) so it has some give as the squash grows.
    Additionally, some make more a “pouch” than “a hammock”.

  2. Rory O'Callaghan

    Best therapy of all! (Well, apart from adoration)

    • Father George David Byers

      The gardening or the mistakes or, I presume, both? ;-)

      • Rory O'Callaghan

        More the latter 🙂 My balcony is littered with the remains of well-meant nurturing. Apart from the potatoes, which feels like an ironic Irish joke being played on me

      • Father George David Byers


  3. nancyv

    HA! I like your optimism “They’ll get seed boxes next year”
    re spaghetti squarsh 🙂 , let it grow on, over, beyond the fence. I had a pumpkin grow, suspended in air, from one vine that seemed to jump from one post to another.

  4. Father, you could just leave them attached to the fence, but they will probably pull the fence down with weight. Can you leave the vines attached to fence but lay the fence down?

  5. You are never too old to learn! I hope you know lots of people that love spaghetti squash!

  6. I also read that the squash can grow in fences, it’s a common practice. On one of my walks last fall I noticed wild cucumber, not edible but interesting.

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