Mid Summer at Sleepy Cat Farm

Mid Summer at Sleepy Cat Farm

Photo: Bottle Gourd Blossom

Walking around the beautiful grounds of Sleepy Cat farm at sunrise is one of my favorite moments of the day. So many subtle things going on without worrying about accomplishing anything but enjoyment of the moment.

The Gourd and Squash blossoms photographed here are fully open before the sun is overhead, and this is the time that insects come out and do their work. These plants are all in the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes Pumpkins, Squash, Cucumbers, Gourds and even Luffa sponge Gourd.  Most are vining in habit, and can be trained to climb.

The white, faintly fragrant blossoms of the Thai Bottle Gourds open wide at this time of day, and inside one can find all sorts of creatures. Female blossoms have very tiny gourds attached to the flower, and now in July, the Gourd Arbor begins to take shape.

Each day I will spend a few minutes coaxing the stems of the Gourds up and over each rung of the arbor. This is a difficult task. The stems grow on the outside of the arbor, so we must reach through and secure while on a ladder. Too much force will break the growing tips. It has taken three months to get to this point from sowing the seed.

Yellow blossoms of Summer and Winter Squash are also open now, and this is the time when the male flowers can be collected for dipping in a simple egg batter and fried. There are always many more male blossoms than female, so gathering a few does not reduce the fruit population to a significant degree.

This year my hope is that by planting Bottle and Dipper Gourds, the disease pressure normally associated with climbing Winter Squashes will be reduced, and create a more attractive picture for our September 16 open garden day. Come see for yourself!