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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lessons from the Vegetable Garden

Gather 'round all you vegetable gardeners, both experienced and beginners. There's a lesson to be learned here.

You may not heed my lesson, but I'm offering it anyway because if this can happen to me, after twenty years of having my own garden and growing up around vegetable gardens, not to mention earning a degree from a school of agriculture, I'm guessing (hoping) it can happen to others.

I skipped a day of harvesting my zucchini and looked what happened.

I ended up with gigantic zucchini. With my round and now softball sized, "Cue Balls" and the traditional "Ambassador" zucchini, I have what I need to play...

Zucchini Softball! Who's in? Let's pick teams! Let's see... out in the back yard, the honey locust tree will be home plate, the redbud tree is 1st base, the entrance to the vegetable garden will be second base, and the spruce tree will be third base. A "Cue Ball" zucchini hit into the garden is an automatic home run!

Or, I think I know some people who can use these for baking. Should I call them first or just leave the zucchini on their doorsteps, ring the door bell and run?

And the lesson I'm passing along to everyone, in case it isn't obvious?

You must check zucchini twice a day for to see if there is any squash to harvest or you will end up with sports equipment.

20 comments:

Kylee said...

LOLOLOLOL!!! I'll have to post my zucchini story and the picture of it. (It happened last year.)

I do love zucchini bread and cake, though!

Dawn said...

Okay, I'm starting to develop a serious case of Veggie Envy. Those look like delicious zucchini to me!

I love to slice them up with some summer squash and onions, cook it all in a skillet with a little olive oil and spices to taste. I'll eat that while the rest of you ladies play Zucchini Softball.

*wink*
Dawn

Angela @ Cottage Magpie + Garden said...

Woman, you are cracking me up! I drove by a house today in my neighborhood with, I kid you not, a 30 foot row of zucchini plants (what are they thinking?) and thought of you. I'll have to send you a photo. I've tried to make zucchini bread to take up the slack but since it uses a paltry amount of zucchini it's not a lot of good (good eating, yes, but...). I'd suggest the zuc-and-run technique. But make sure you wipe them for fingerprints or you'll have veggie retribution for sure! ~A :-)

Me said...

I always plant 4-6 plants because my husband loves the stuff so we can eat it nearly every night during the summer. My oldest absolutely craves chocolate zucchini cake. When she saw me harvest the first zucchini this year she was ecstatic.

Last year, I discovered a great way to save some for winter (everyone except my husband loves this stuff). I found a recipe for a zucchini soup. It is supposed to be served cold but I like it better hot. I make the base of the soup and freeze it and then in the winter I can thaw it, bring it to a boil and add salt, pepper and cream and yum!!

I made a quadruple batch the other day and froze the whole thing in little applesauce containers that way I can make as much or as little as I want come winter.

I plan to post the recipe soon.

Kathy said...

Sadly, a lot of people think that's the size they should be when picked.

healingmagichands said...

Hilarious! What Kathy said! We love zucchini and I have to use extreme self control while planting. I like to harvest them when they are about 4 inches long. When I find what I call a "lurker", the one that is 12 inches long, I just put it straight on the compost pile.

I also like the golden sunburst pattypan squash. Makes a beautiful companion for the dark green zucchini when cooked.

We have learned that a very good way to store zucchini for the winter is to grill them. Slice them about 1/4 inch thick, brush with olive oil and grill them on the barbecue. When they are done, place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze them. When they are frozen, package them in gallon sized zip lock bags. When you want zucchini during the winter, you can serve the thawed squash steaks at room temperature, or re-warm them in the oven. They are a miraculous addition to risotto or pasta, slice the slices and heat them in olive oil with garlic, then toss them with the pasta. or add them to winter salads. Since they are already cooked they do not turn to mush when you freeze them this way.

Bon appetit. I think I will go out and check my zucchini plants now!

Layanee said...

Maybe you should have a couple of farm animals such as pigs. I hear they like big zucchini! LOL at that post. I'm not a very good softball player but it would be gratifying to hit one of those round ones...something like a Gallagher show.

Laurie & Chris said...

My hubby would be right over if we lived close enough. He LOVES zucchini!I believe the smaller the zucchini the beter tasting also.

I'll play ball with you but the first time I get hit by that ball i'm going home :)

Colleen said...

LOL....lesson heeded :-) I'm out to check on my zukes right now!

Marie (FKA Piana Nanna) said...

You can leave some on my doorstep and you don't have to run. I don't grow it.
I love zucchini bread. I put it in the food processor and then freeze it in containers with the correct amount for my recipe. We love it at Christmas. Yum.

Connie said...

Around here we joke about leaving our car windows open in the summer....for fear of being the recipient of unwanted zucchini. ;-) Too bad you don't have chickens....when you cut the zukes in half like a big bowl, they just peck them clean!

eleanor said...

There you go Carol. Take Connie's suggestion & get some chickens. Maybe they'll peck the bunnies away too.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Too funny! I finally wised up and only put in a single hill of zucchini and a single hill of squash this year. STILL too much zucchini!

Angela, I can't imagine a 30' bed of zucchini. What are they doing? Supplying Whole Foods Market?

Robin (Bumblebee)

Annie in Austin said...

I'd come up there and take some of those zucchini off your hands, Carol, but by the time my plane landed they'd be the size of basketballs.

Layanee has a great idea - your neighborhood association might not think a fence around your garden was so bad in comparison to a zucchini-loving potbellied pig in your yard.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Lucky you, I had to buy my zucchini at the farmer's market today. I love zucchini muffins. I'll try to make some this week and post the recipe on my blog.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

They really do grow overnight, don't they? My husband has been hanging bags of them on every neighbor's back door as soon as he sees them leave :).

LostRoses said...

I'm rolling up my car windows and locking the doors!

Carol said...

Kylee... I'll be watching for your zucchini story post!

Dawn... I appreciate you offering to cook for us, because we'll work up a good appetite playing veg. softball.

Angela @ Cottage Magpie + Garden... good idea to wipe my fingerprints off any zukes I leave for my neighbors. But no one else near me has a vegetable garden, so that's a clue I can't erase. If I had a 30 foot row of zucchini, I'd have to set up a veggie stand in the front to sell it.

Me... I'm going to watch for the recipe as I am to the point if people won't take it, I have to either freeze it or compost it.

Kathy... this is the size to pick if you are into sports!

Healingmagichands... I might just try to freeze a few "zucchini steaks" for the winter!

Layanee... that's why we are going to hit them toward the garden, less of a mess to clean up. Um, no to the pigs...

Laurie & Chris... yes, the smaller zucchini are much better!

Colleen... I hope you found some zucchini waiting for you!

Marie... Yes, I know some people who are grateful to get some zucchini. I'll be visiting them today.

Connie... I'd love to have a few chickens in the backyard, but I think there are rules against them. However, some neighbors let their cats wander around so maybe it would be okay if no one knew about them?

Eleanor... I don't know who wins when chickens and bunnies square off!

Robin (bumblebee)... You exercised great restraint planting just one hill. What if there had been a crop failure? What then? That's why I plant two hills of each variety.

Annie in Austin... Well, basketball is very popular in Indiana, but we generally use pumpkins for Vegetable Basketball games, later in the fall.

Robin's Nesting Place... I'll be watching for the recipe, and what a shame you had to buy zucchini.You need a vegetable garden!

Iowa Gardening Woman... Yes, they grow overnight, I found more this morning.

Lost Roses... I wouldn't force them on you or leave them in your car, I promise! *wink*

Thanks all for the comments and suggestions!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Carol

Bonnie said...

I got so bogged down with zucchini and squash last year that I gave some to everyone- the exterminator, the mailman, the tree guy, the neighbors, anyone at work who wanted some and then just abandoned some in the break room. I finally pulled up the squash plants because I couldn't take one more squash dish for the season and everyone was avoiding me if I looked like I was bringing squash to work.

Sue Swift said...

I went to leave a comment here carol, but it got so long I turned it into a post on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration!
Sue