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Monday, July 02, 2007

A Good Problem To Have

We know that there are going to be problems each year in the garden. Bugs, weeds, plant diseases, too much rain, too little rain, late frost, early frost, rabbits, deer, the list could go on and on.

Shhh... don't say too much about them.

As a matter of general policy, I tend not to discuss any of these problems in any detail or to a great extent with those who don't garden. They don't seem to understand what compels a gardener to keep trying year after year in spite of these potential and real problems.

But I do talk a lot about the good problems we have as gardeners, like having too much produce (TMP).

As I look around the garden this evening, I believe I am going to have a bigger problem than normal this year with TMP.

Little green beans are forming, and for whatever reason, the rabbits are staying away. It could be because of the neighbor's cat, who was roaming around in the yard this evening, or it could be that I scared away the rabbit who got caught in my trap and he was the only one out there.

I also have baby cucumbers, little peppers, lots of green tomatoes, onions, corn that is tasseling, and look...

More zucchini!
This is this evening's harvest. To give you some perspective, those "traditional" zucchini are about the size of a hot dog. From the left the varieties are "Ambassador", "Gold Bar", "Ambassador" again, and "Gold Rush". And yes, those are four more "Cue Balls" to go with the three I harvested yesterday.

I knew I had to take some action this evening because at this rate, I’m losing ground and “they” (the zucchini) are taking over. There are at least six more "Cue Balls" nearly ready to harvest. I did wonder, standing out in the garden, why I planted so much zucchini, but I can’t do anything about it now. It’s time to eat them, give them away, force others to take them or learn how to fry the blossoms.

So I decided to make something to eat with them. I read through all the comments and suggestions from yesterday’s post, (which were very helpful thank you!) and decided I should make a pie. I found a recipe online for a crustless zucchini pie that sounded easy to make, and it was. This used up the three “Cue Balls” I harvested yesterday, but I’ll admit that I threw out the seedy parts and just used the outside “meat” of the zucchini. Plus I cut the recipe in half and only made one pie.

I sliced up the other varieties of zucchini and let them marinate in some balsamic vinaigrette and ate them as the salad. Can you eat too much zucchini in one meal? Don't answer yes, because my zucchini dinner is already eaten!

Most of the zucchini beds are hidden in this picture of the garden, or way down there at the other end, but they are out there, eight hills worth, growing and producing as fast I can pick them.
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To prove to my family that I do know where my oven is and how to turn it on, here's the pie I made.
It was pretty good, almost like a quiche, with a mild enough flavor that you could also make it and serve it for breakfast. In fact, I might make another one for breakfast on the 4th of July and eat out on the patio, with a vase of fresh flowers from the garden sitting on my table.

The freshest flowers will be the zinnias which have just started to bloom.
I'm glad the zinnias are starting to bloom because looking out at the rest of the yard, I don't see a lot of other flowers blooming and I was mildly concerned that I wouldn't have much to show for the next Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on July 15th.

Or I'd just have zucchini blossoms to post about.

(Special thanks to Robin(bumblebee) for the idea to make a pie and to Annie in Austin for admonishing me to pick the zucchini while they were still quite small and use them in salads. Most years, my zucchini get to nearly club size before I pick them and give them away. The difference this year? I think it is these varieties seem to lend themselves to earlier picking. I got them from Pinetree Garden Seeds. Last year, I planted Burpee's Hybrid and Burpee's Golden Hybrid. A few years ago, I did plant "Gold Rush" and I think it was a smaller squash. I've also planted the variety "Black Beauty", which definitely is a big club of a zucchini, if you let it be. The lesson here... look around for other varieties and give them a try. Don't get stuck in a rut with the same old varieties... unless that variety is "Cue Ball" which I will be planting for years to come!)

15 comments:

Mary said...

I was going to suggest that you can use a lot of that produce for a 4th of July cookout -- grilled zucchini or kabobs w/ zucchini & onions and other stuff are yummy. Enjoy!

Genie said...

Carol, I second Mary's idea. Every time I grill, if I have zucchini, I grill it up (just slice it in half, then spray with Pam and grill until done), and then slice it up and keep it in the fridge to add to salads or omelettes or whatever. Or just to eat. I honestly don't think you could ever eat too much zucchini. I love the stuff! I have four plants, but they're still teeny...no product yet. I had to buy some at the farmer's market on Saturday to get my fix. Thanks for the zucchini pie tip -- that recipe sounds delicious. And your idea for a Fourth of July breakfast sounds absolutely fabulous -- that kind of thing is right up my alley.

:-) Genie

Kris at Blithewold said...

Gadzukes are one of those veggies where a little goes a long way! I love them grilled frenchfry sized with a little adobo sprinkled on. Or you could do what my family used to do and let them grow to treetrunk size and use them for target practice. Is there a soup kitchen in your area? - I'm sure they'd LOVE any surplus!

jodi said...

MMMm...the pie looks fabulous, Carol, and I'm tempted to try one too--only we have no zucchini here ready yet; a farmer I know does have a few small ones forming so I'll go see him in a week and get a couple from him.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

I love courgettes and have a very easy low fat recipe for making courgette soup:

- put 2 table spoons of olive oil in a pan,
- heat it and fry some chopped onions and some garlic in it
- add some cubed potatoes and courgettes, stir them for a minute or so and then add water.
- put in some stock cubes and bring to the boil.
- Boil for 30 minutes, add pepper and salt and voila, courgette soup.

BTW what a pity that darn wabbit excaped. Better luck next time!

eleanor said...

Carol, you can bake a couple of pies & bring them over here

eleanor said...

Carol, you can bake a couple of pies & bring them over here

Connie said...

Your quiche looks delicious and
the just opening white zinnia is so pretty!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Well, I'm still looking for the proper recipe for that zucchini pie I mentioned previously.

But in the meantime, I have posted our FAVORITE recipe for Double Squash Cornbread Supper -- a cornbread/zucchini topping on a bean/zucchini/tomato stew. YUM!!!

And thanks for the mention, Carol!

Happy gardening!

Robin (Bumblebee)

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

The pie looks wonderful.

My zinnias are just starting to bloom also, will have to get my camera out in the garden tomorrow.

Kathy said...

If anyone gives me a baseball sized summer squash, I slice it in half lengthwise and let the chickens eat it, or let my kids carve it with a butter knife. Beats the heck out of Mr. Potato Head. What Annie said is so true, the squash must be quite young to be at their best. Any squash that resists piercing by your fingernail is too old for any recipe that doesn't intend to hide the flavor and texture (such as Zucchini Bread).
And the flavor of a young squash is subtle and delicate. Just like you wouldn't leave peas or corn in the fridge to be cooked days later, you really don't want squash hanging around getting limp and tired. I think Genie has a better idea, to cook ahead and use in other dishes. We don't grill, but I pan-roast squash. I'd cook it, sliced thin, in a dry non-stick frying pan. I salted it right at the beginning to draw out the moisture. That would be the only moisture I'd use to cook it with. At the very end, when it's brown and carmelized, I'd add just a touch of butter.

chuck b. said...

Ah, the TMPs. Poor Carol!

I love pictures of vegetables.

I just planted zinnia seeds last week, and centaurea. First leaves are up; hopefully blooms'll be ready for...September GBBD.

Cottage Magpie said...

You crack me up! I've always been a firm believer in picking the zucchini when they are small, so when I was in charge of my Mom's garden during prime zucchini season one year, I did so. She got back from her trip and was incensed that I hadn't let them get big. Like HUGE big. Inedible big. Build a house with the woody bits big. Go figure! And I thought I was being helpful! ~A :-)

LostRoses said...

Yum, I'll take one of those pies too. Do I hear a tiny bit of wistfulness that your rabbit is not helping you out with TMP?

Rurality said...

So, does any one variety taste better than the others to you?

P.S. I want to be able to right click to open links in a new window, but your blog won't let me!