The Strawberry Snail: Bird Netted

I left twice as many strawberry plants scattered around the forest garden without protection, but put a bird net over the strawberry snail garden. They get their fruit, and I make sure I get mine.

It’s easiest to do so on this little spiral raised bed, as opposed to covering the whole “forest floor” where the rest of the berries are located.

Bees can come in and out to pollinate any remaining flowers, and I make sure to check the net at least once a day in case anyone manages to get trapped in it.


Beyond Cucumbers

Whether you have enough summer warmth to grow these outside, a greenhouse, or even a bright window, here are some interesting options for the garden with similar climate requirements and taste profiles to cucumbers.

1. Egyptian Luffa or Chinese Okra (Luffa Aegyptica) [BUY SEEDS]

Also known as Loofah, this gourd can be dried on the vine, and made into a durable organic scrubber for the bath or kitchen. The juvenile fruits are also edible, and used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines.

2. Caigua (Cyclanthera pedata[BUY SEEDS]

Like potatoes, the Caigua vine was domesticated in the Andes, where it is called pepino de rellenar, or “stuffing cucumber.”

3. Jungle Cucumber (Zehneria scabra[BUY SEEDS]

An extremely small fruit, Zehneria vines produce sweet, flavour-packed, cucumber-like fruits.

4. Horned Melon, or Kiwano (Cucumis metuliferus[BUY SEEDS]

Native to Africa, the horned melon’s flavour has been described as something in between a cucumber, lemon, and banana.

5. Pepino dulce or Melon Pear (Solanum muricatum[BUY SEEDS]

A member of the Solanum family and native to the Andes, the flavour of Pepino is often described as being a mixture of a honeydew and a cucumber.

6. Okra, or Gumbo (Abelmoschus esculentus[BUY SEEDS]

A member of the mallow family–and native to either South Asia, Ethiopia or West Africa–okra is a fixture in Mediterranean cuisines, South Asian cuisines, and many cuisines across the African diaspora.


Gifts for Gardeners

#12: Moleskine Gardening Journal

I’m usually swimming in notes about my gardens: I have binders packed with plans, sketches, articles, and plant tags.

While I thrive on my chaos, for the more organised documenter of gardening progress, a devoted gardening journal could provide a single space for all of the seasonal data to be collected.

Image: Moleskine