One of my biggest lessons this gardening year so far has been that I need wiggle room in my plans for plants I hadn’t intended to buy. Look at my impulse-buy onions and potatoes, my let’s-plant-a-tomato-early purchase, my fairly random snatch of a packet of Swiss chard seeds. This weekend it was cucumbers.

I had planned to buy a cucumber plant, mind you. It was to sit serenely beside the lemon cucumber and produce a couple of cucumbers every once in a while for the occasional salad or snack. We went to Andersons for strawberries and peaches (for wedding ice cream) and pots (for wedding papyrus and a bay tree they had at Oak Park, where we got the papyrus) and I intended to get just such a plant, because it’s time to stop with the planting and start with the growing.

“I’d like to try pickling,” Eric said after I had dragged him to the appropriate aisle, avoiding looking at the other plants on the way, just in case. “It would be nice to have a lot of cucumbers.”

He was looking at the pickling cucumbers. I was looking at the Burpless and Straight Eights, slicing cucumbers. Eric hasn’t asked much of the garden–parsley and carrots, so far, and is more or less willing to be patient on the carrots. (No sign of the parsley yet. Maybe of the dill, but then again they might be a new kind of weed. Next year I’ll know to soak the parsley seeds first and start them much, much earlier.) So of course we had to get the second cucumber. Then it transpired that Andersons didn’t thin their cucumber plants, and there were two or three plants in each pot. So we came home with three Straight Eight seedlings and two Bush Pickle seedlings.

As it happens, we finally cleared out the little bed by the garage of trash, and I intended to mulch and eventually plant things there anyway. As it also happens, one of the two blueberry bushes is definitely dead. So I had space to plant, barely. Two of the Straight Eights went into the space where I’d planned on the one (they can be spaced closer than I thought, 10″, so it wasn’t too bad actually) and one in the garage bed, and one of the Bush Pickles went into the blueberry bush pot and the other into the ground beside it, where I won’t trod on it on the way to the compost bin if I’m careful.

I also planted my cantaloupes, more than I probably really have room for, and my homegrown pepper (which has almost caught up to the nursery plants!), and my tomato-like weed. Butternut squash and pumpkins will go into the garden in a week or two, and after that I should–theoretically–not be buying any more vegetables for planting. At least not until fall.