Zucchini Days

Zucchini from the Ice Box

Zucchini from the Ice Box

LAKE MACBRIDE— Yesterday zucchini came in from the garden, a lot of them. Knowing the CSA share would include more, I called a friend who manages the local food bank and arranged to donate freshly picked vegetables. Posting on Facebook, I encouraged others to do likewise,

Just donated ten pounds of organic zucchini and yellow squash to the local food bank. They really need our help. If you have garden extras, I hope you will pick up the phone and call the nearest food bank to see if they could use it. Willing to bet they will.

A commenter on this blog wrote,

It is the only time of the year you have to lock your doors when you go to the local drug store, grocery store or funeral parlor in a small town so you won’t receive the “bounty” of someones inexperience of planting way to many summer squash! If you aren’t cautious, they will hunt you down and fill your back seat in a New York minute!

It may be possible to have too much of a good thing, although I won’t admit it. Even though ten pounds was donated to the food bank, there is an abundance in the ice box and plenty more growing in the garden. Soon the recipe for zucchini chocolate cake will come out of the arsenal to be deployed in a last ditch effort to deal with the proliferation. Maybe I need to deescalate.

This is the first year zucchini growing has been an unmitigated success in my garden. It is attributable to working at the farm and seeing how professionals do it. In past years, I planted squash in mounds with a number of seeds in close proximity to each other. They grew in a tangled mess and never produced very well. This year was different.

Using some plastic trays provided by a friend, I planted the seeds in individual soil blocks. They germinated and grew well, and when the plot was ready, I transplanted them in tight rows next to a big patch of radishes. Once the radishes were harvested, the squash vines had room to grow. It may seem simple, but the results were dramatic.

As long as we repeat the same behavior, change is unlikely. More than anything else, a gardener should be a tinkerer with cultivation. Trying different tilling methods, considering shade that falls on the garden when planting, seed variety selection, row arrangement, and adjusting every possible variable in the garden. Most importantly, a gardener should let the seed genetics do their work after creating a suitable environment. If we sometimes hit the zucchini jackpot, then we learn from that and adjust next year.

With a bit of thoughtful work, it is much more likely to succeed in gardening than in winning the lottery of a random life.

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