“Make a cucumber grow in a bottle?” exclaimed Hal. “Why, how funny!”
“Let’s go see!” cried Mab, and together they ran over to Aunt Lolly’s garden.
THE CORN SILK
“Maybe this is another joke, like the eyes of the potatoes,” said Hal to his sister, as they ran along.
“That wasn’t a joke—the eyes were real, though they couldn’t see nor blink at you,” Mab answered.
“The potato eyes must see a little, else how could they find their way to grow up out of the dark ground?” Hal wanted to know.
“Well, my beans didn’t have any eyes, and they grew up,” Mab answered. “Even if they did grow upside down, or I thought they did,” and she laughed. “But let’s see what Aunt Lolly is doing.”
Uncle Pennywait’s wife was out among the cucumber vines now. She had planted them about the same time Hal had put in the five kernels of corn in each hill.
Aunt Lolly’s cucumber seeds had also been planted in hills, so there would be a raised mound of earth for the roots to keep moist in, and in order that the vines, at the start, would be raised up from the other ground around them. Now the cucumber plants were quite lengthy, running along over their part of the garden, and in some places there were growing tiny little pickles—or they would be pickles, when put in salt, vinegar and spices.
“Are you really going to make a cucumber grow in a bottle?” asked Mab as she saw her aunt, with a bottle in her hand, stooping over one of the vines.
“I really am,” was the answer. “It is only a little trick, though, and really does no good. But I thought you children would like to see it.”
“How are you going to do it?” asked Hal.
“You see this little cucumber, or pickle,” spoke Aunt Lolly, and she showed one to Hal and Mab. “Well now I’m going to slip it inside this bottle, but not pull the pickle from the vine. If I did that the cucumber would stop growing and die.”
She had a bottle with a neck large enough so the pickle would go in it. The bottle was an odd shape.
“The pickle will grow large and completely fill the bottle,” went on Aunt Lolly. “It will grow because it is not broken off the stem, and the bottle, being glass, will let in the sunshine. The neck is also large enough so air can get in, for without air, sunlight and the food it gets through the stem the pickle would not live.
“But as it grows it will swell and fill every part of the bottle and it also will grow just to the shape of the bottle, so that in the Fall, when it can’t grow any more, because of the strong glass, I can break the bottle and I will have a pickle shaped just like it, curves, queer twists and everything else.”
“Oh, how funny!” cried Hal “I wonder if I could grow an ear of corn in a bottle?”
“No,” answered his aunt. “An ear of corn has to grow inside the husk, and you could not, very well, put a bottle over that.”