The Garden at 485 Elm
People growing together:
a collaborative community garden in Montpelier, Vermont

Crouching Gardener, Hidden Veggies

Bush beans under the leaves. For best access, sit on the ground and reach up under the plants.

It’s disappointing when a favorite crop doesn’t produce well. This season, for example, our lushly leafy eggplants are not laying many eggs.

Other times the food is plentiful but in hiding. Recently, gardeners here have mentioned difficulty finding enough cucumbers, zucchinis, peas, and beans.

Bush beans and pole beans are available in nearly limitless quantities. Sit or squat beside the plants, gently lift the leaves, and behold the bounty underneath.

While peas are slowing down, there are still plenty out there.

Tips for finding peas and beans:

  • Sitting on the ground or looking up overhead will put more peas within reach than simply looking at the vines at average eye level.
  • Spread the leaves apart and look through the plant to find peas and beans. With peas, you can reach through the trellis to find the food on the other side.
  • Gently shake the vines and watch for the telltale wobble of food.

    A zucchini lurks in the shade of large leaves and vines.

Under spiky leaves, plump cucumbers are ripening up daily. Still, cucumbers are coming slowly, and we might increase the number of plants next year.

In the squash patch, ripe zucchini in three colors (dark green, light green, and golden) and two kinds of yellow squash are readily available. It’s the time of the season when, even after having harvested the previous day, I can go out and find a dirigible-sized zucchini that seems to have formed overnight.

Finding summer squashes and zucchinis means moving around each bed to see it from multiple perspectives. Step carefully between the plants, preferably wearing pants that offer protection from the scratchy vines. Stand, squat, sit, and look up under the plants from all angles to find the ripe and ready fruit.

Today’s detective work yielded a haul.