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Fresh from the Dutch buckets, Persian cucumbers washed and ready to slice.

Cucumber plants are so delicately beautiful, especially the flowers. After working with pumpkin, zucchini, and various squashes, which can be brutal on your hands and arms, it has been a pleasure.

When you buy a cucumber in the store, they are smooth and usually coated with wax to protect them from shriveling right before your eyes. No one ever tells you the truth of the matter. Cucumbers have very sharp spikes to deter you from even picking them. I reached in there thinking about melons and squash, how easy they are to gather, when, OUCH! My hand came away with small spines embedded in my fingers. What cucumbers lack in leaf and flower protection is cruelly developed in the fruit, so beware!

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Cool as a cucumber, invitingly dangling and beckoning you to pick them now!

The spikes washed off pretty easily after my initial shock. I mean, I like the idea of plants protecting themselves. It's good; there are fewer problems with pests and creatures out to get my hard-earned rewards, but a little warning would be nice.

I am learning that gardening is not for the weak. I have been stung, bitten, frightened, and traumatized. Some creatures aren't afraid of humans, or at least not as afraid as I am of them. A gardener must be aware of many things. It is almost a type of meditation to stand there watering away, until you feel something crawling on you. A biting something, that apparently does not mind being on a human. "Live and let live" is my motto, until they start biting.

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Two overgrown cucumbers displayed in front of a backdrop of only two cucumber plants, which are quickly overtaking the hoophouse.

Cucumbers grown in Dutch buckets spread rapidly. Note to self for next year: make a hoop house specifically for cucumbers! They need their own special nutrient mix and much more space than I have allotted them. Also, come up with some sort of bug repellent!