When I left off over two months ago, our cucumber plants looked something like this:
Ah, yes. Those were the days. There were LOTS of yellow flowers... which clearly meant lots of cucumbers in our future. I had big plans for these cucumbers, let me tell you.
The first batch of cucumbers was reserved for our downstairs neighbors, complete with a "Hey, I haven't met you / and this is crazy / but I'm sorry for all the times I got overzealous with my cucumber watering duties and may have inadvertently left a puddle on your patio furniture / so eat a cucumber, maybe?" note.
Or something like that.
The second batch of cucumbers was reserved for my family, complete with a "Look, I can make stuff besides art! I excel at creating things that are basically unvalued by society and not in the least bit profitable! AREN'T YOU PROUD OF ME?" note. (PS: Duh, they're proud. I'm awesome.)
And... all the other cucumbers were reserved for me, of course.
By the first week in July, Zach and I still had plenty of yellow flowers, but nothing that even resembled the beginning stages of a cucumber. After consulting the Google and my grandmother (who totally trumps the Google when it comes to gardening), we learned that there are actually male yellow flowers and female yellow flowers. (Yeah, mind blown.) Insert some more information that I probably learned in high school biology about pollination yet never bothered to retain and... TADA! We apparently had no chance of growing cucumbers without the help of bees. Bees which, mind you, are not exactly in abundance in our third floor urban landscape.
Determined to achieve my "grow something edible" goal for 2013, I researched even further and learned how to "hand-pollinate" cucumber flowers, much to the dismay of my innocent little paintbrush. (This is a real thing, y'all!) Without getting too PG-13 on here, let's just say that I can't tell the difference between a male flower and a female flower, so I pretty much just stuck the paintbrush everywhere with the hopes of ending up with something that looked somewhat like a cucumber.
And, well, I suppose I did get something that looked somewhat like a cucumber.
When it first started growing all gourd-like, I assumed it would eventually take the shape of a cucumber. You know, since I'd been spot on with my gardening knowledge leading up to this point. Needless to say, our special cucumber retained its chili pepper form and pretty much stopped growing after a week. We left it there for a while, hoping it would magically grow or encourage others to sprout up out of the dirt or, heaven forbid, begin to look like an actual cucumber.
Nope. That was as good as it was gonna get.
So we harvested our lone cucumber and managed to get six tiny slices out of it. And guess what?
It tasted really good, so joke's on you, Mother Nature!
One of these days, I'll have a house with a yard full of bees. And when that happens, I will grow an abundance of large, prolate cucumbers, track down the couple that lived in Apartment 1222, and give them an inordinate amount of this beloved garden treat that still struggles to self-identify with a fruit or a vegetable. I'll have to write a new note, of course, because Carly Rae will be obsolete by the time this happens, but still. It will happen.
However, it won't be nearly as awesome as this summer's gardening experience, because, well, THIS:
Our only cucumber next to three tomatoes from my grandmother's garden. Show-off.
And thus permanently concludes my adventures in "hand-pollination." What an adventure it turned out to be, indeed :) Nonetheless... grow something edible during 2013? Check!