Plants that Don’t Come Up Might Surprise You

When I was still thinking about writing this post I got an email from my friend and reader, Abigail.  She addressed the very thing I wanted to write about.  So I took my title for this post from her email.

(You’ll recall I wrote about some health issues Abigail was having in a letter to subscribers on June 20.  She had surgery last Friday and all went well.  She thanks everyone for their prayers.)

Kalibos Cabbage

This spring when I planted cabbages I didn’t have room for everything in the garden.  Thus, I transplanted my seedlings for a red cabbage (Kalibos) in one of my borders. It disappeared the next day.  I think “bunny” found it — which I should  have anticipated. 

Abigail mentions in her email that she loves the shape and size (not too big) of Kalibos.  I planted twice this year and lost the seedlings both times. Hopefully, this coming spring I’ll have success as I’m even more anxious to grow it after Abigail mentioned how much she loved it.

Winter Squash

Had planned to grow a couple of varieties of winter squash this year.  Didn’t want them in the garden and thought to try them in the borders to see what would happen. 

Delicata was the only one I ended up starting.  Had 3 beautiful seedlings and transplanted them to the back side of the fence border which is a direct line from my back door. It’s also one of the worst possible spots for a vegetable. Nonetheless the seedlings seemed to take right away.

 My favorite large cherry  tomato volunteered in the prime spot. I like to have at least one tomato plant close to the house. Makes it especially nice if the weather is bad.  Don’t have to trek all the way to the garden if I need tomatoes. 

A week went by before checking the seedlings again.  All were gone.

Was it Bunny? 

Quickly Put That Behind Me and Got on With Other Things.

A month later I happened to check the tomato plant and couldn’t believe my eyes. Beside it was a beautiful  Delicata squash plant  that had grown at least 5 feet AND had a beautiful little squash growing on it.  Obviously the root had remained and continued to produce more leaves and vine.

Delicata is ripe when it’s yellow with green stripes and easily detaches from the vine..

That little plant gave me 4 lovely squash, one of which is still on the vine.

From what I read online Delicata squash will not continue ripening if you pick it ealy.  It has to mature on the vine in order to avoid a slightly bitter taste.

My First Meal of Delicata

The nicest thing about Delicata is the ease of preparing it.  I washed the outside and then cut it in half in order to remove the seeds. The skin is edible and easy to slice.

I saved some seed for a future year. Roasted and ate the remaining seeds to take advantage of the nutrient value and high calorie content.   (That might be something to note if food becomes scarce and you have to get calories wherever you can.)

Here’s a picture of my roasted squash just out of the oven.

Delicata squash in the oven.

I had picked beans that afternoon to accompany my squash.

Roasted Delicata and Green Benas


Final thoughts

Like Abigail I’ve found that the garden often gives unexpected bonuses.

Last winter I thought I had lost 4 cabbage seedlings to the weather. Didn’t see them in the bed, but lo and behold in the spring they popped up and turned into gorgeous large heads of cabbage.

I’ll close with a quote from her email:

In the spring I have had surprise spinach that had managed to overwinter.  Lots of plants that did not do well in this summer’s drought, even with watering, came back after the rains and are giving me late crops of squash and beans and peppers, among other things.

“Sometimes what appears a bad garden year will just turn out to be different.


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  • Hiya Theresa!

    My yard and garden are gently sloping, meaning that you don’t really notice it’s a hill cause it isn’t, but it’s not exactly level either. A few years ago I planted Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susans) in the border outside my garden. Welp…. Not a single one came up.

    However, the next year I had Rudbeckia growing on the outside edge of the first garden bed INSIDE the fence and another bit across the path and at the end of a second bed. I let them go and just planted around them. I took a hiatus from gardening for a while but the Rudbeckia didn’t miss me and kept popping up in different places.

    When I started gardening again last year I planted a packet of seed inside the garden close to some established Echinacea and transplanted what came up in beds to that same spot.

    This year none of that came back; however, in the border outside the garden where I originally planted those first seeds but 20 FEET TO THE LEFT, a small clump of Rudbeckia popped up between my Cannas & Hardy Hibiscus.

    I let it grow all season and when it went to seed pulled it, took it to a sunny spot in another part of the yard, dropped it and spread a thin layer of grass clippings over it. We’ll see what happens next year.

    It’s been a fun game of slo-mo whack a mole for sure!

    Take care and God bless,

  • Oh, that plate looks delicious! And what a pretty squash.

    We tried growing several kinds of squash this year, but the squash bugs were more successful at destroying them, sadly.

  • Had several surprises in the garden this year. First and mostly was a watermelon plant my neighbor gave me. I had a bare spot in my downsized garden, so planted it. We have a short growing season. My thoughts were the watermelon vine would make good green for the compost. Surprise! 3 melons, one weighed 23 lbs. and the other 24 pounds. There is still a small on the vine that has not been picked. This a first for me in the almost 15 years I have been gardening in Nevada.

    Alice's surprise

    Secondly was carrots. It is difficult to start carrots because of our dry desert climate. I planted them 3 times…recently I found a row of green spikes comming out of the ground. Surprise, the carrots. Apparently they waited until the weather cooled off and decided they wanted to grow.
    Third and truly amazing are the late green beans I planted. The second planting is producing and the last planting wants to grow, but we are down to thirties at night and I have my doubts. Giving them protection with straw and thinking of some row cover.
    All in all it has been a adventure in the garden this year. weather wise it was very unusual. However it is exciting and fun and am already planning next year. Happy gardening everyone and thank you Theresa for all your tips and tricks. A gardening friend, Alice

  • In my garden this year I had planted banana squash near the fence away from the main vegetable garden as the vine had been so large last year it basically took over. None seemed to come up. Acorn, butternut, scallop, and zucchini all grew and are growing great. Just at the end of last month banana squash plants showed up in two places and have squash developing. Even if they don’t fully ripen they are good eating imature. Also I planted 2 pumpkin plants and only one pumpkin stayed on to mature, then last month the vines have put on 3 more, it is unknown if they will have time to mature. It is very, very dry here!

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