Return to gardening gets results

News editor

Gerald Wiens of Marion has had more cucumbers than he knows what to do with this year. He has given plenty away to family, friends, and neighbors; he has sold some to Carlsons’ Grocery; and he has sold dozens at a time after advertising online.

He has picked at least 100 cucumbers a week for more than a month, although the quantity has been declining lately. Wiens credits the excellent growth to the cool, moist weather in late June and early August. Not bad for a return to gardening after two decades away.

“This is the first time I’ve had a garden since the late 1980s or early 1990s,” he said.

He purchased a house across from his Lincoln St. home, and its backyard was almost entirely dedicated to a garden by the previous owner. Wiens cut back to about a third of the yard for a garden, planted with cucumbers, tomatoes, cantaloupes, and pumpkins. He also has a few volunteer watermelons and horseradishes.

His early plantings of cucumbers and tomatoes actually didn’t start off well, so he transplanted some starters.

“Lo and behold, they all took off,” Wiens said.

In recent weeks, he has sold about 70 cucumbers to two buyers — about 40 to a Hillsboro woman and about 30 to a Florence woman.

“We’re eating them all the time,” Wiens said.

He said the cucumbers have all been tasty. None of them have been bitter, like some late-season cucumbers were when he was growing up. Likewise, the tomatoes have been flavorful, too. He thinks he might get a second batch of tomatoes before the frost, because many have put on new blossoms.

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