A garden minx update: Cucumber thief, bugs, and compost

Last night there were five cucumbers ready to be picked.  I picked one and ate it as part of my dinner salad but I left the other 4 on the vine as your cucumber will be sweeter and juicier if picked first thing in the morning (the fruits do their major hydrating overnight).  Zut alors!  When I went down this morning to water and putter, only two cucumbers (hidden by leaves on our side of the fence) were still there and the ones visible to folks on the other side of the fence were gone.  Ah well, someone in the neighbourhood is enjoying them.

I am having a bug problem.  The two cucumber plants (bearers of the stolen fruits) that have thus far been the most prolific producers (actually, so far the only cucumber plants producing) are experiencing a serious ant home-building invasion around their roots and this is causing their lower leaves to eh, die.  It doesn’t bode well for the plants.  Two of the other cucumber plants (thus far undiscovered by ants) are rocking out and should be in production of fruit soon.  These latter two plants make the strongest case evah for compost.  None of the initial plants that went in (back in June) had any sort of compost to help with the hard-packed, nutrient-deprived, desert soil.  Three weeks ago, when I planted these new ones, I put in 4 more cucumber plants and, in the spot where the two rockin’ babies are, I mixed in some of the compost I’ve made.  The other two new ones, planted at the same exact time (ok, 5 minutes later) did not have the benefit of any compost added in –and they are a quarter of the size!  Ok, granted I can’t put the size difference down entirely to the compost because the smaller two also get about 45 minutes less of sunlight a day as well and that is certainly something of a factor.  I’ll have the compost vs. sunlight ratio answer soon, though, since last week I planted 6 more in a nearby spot that gets the exact amount of sunlight as the rockin’ babies but sans compost (already all sprouted — in this heat it only takes cucumber seeds 3 days to germination!).

Some sort of bug is also snacking on some of my tomato plants’ leaves.  So not on.  I’ve got to get a spray bottle somewhere and mix up a detergent-water combo to mist those plant leaves with.

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