The Sneakiness of Zucchini and Other Gardening Lessons

I’ve confessed I am a reluctant gardener, with a very laid-back approach to everything to do with the yard. Despite the fact that “negligent” is the best description of me as a gardener, I actually have promised myself I will do better this year. (Trust me, I am even more surprised than you are.)

My gardening resolutions:

  1. I will keep up with the weeding.
  2. We will eat more of the strawberries than the birds do.
  3. I will harvest the various fruits our many shrubs produce, instead of just leaving them on the plants.
  4. I will pick the zucchini and summer squash when they are small, tender, and tasty. No more U-boat zucchini!

I wish I could say I’m totally living up to my plans, but my success has been rather limited.

I weed whenever I have a spare moment, but spare time is a complete myth — all the time is taken and there isn’t any to spare, so really I weed maybe once a week. It doesn’t matter how often I do it, it’s crazy to think I can keep up. It’s one of those chores that’s never done. Thanks to all the rain we’ve been having, I can hear the weeds popping out of the ground behind me even as I bend over to pull the one I’ve just found.

Our strawberry plants didn’t grow any strawberries to speak of this year, which is a puzzle, because they are well-established and seem like they should be making fruit. Sadly, the robins only needed to eat one berry to beat our intake.

The good news is that I am doing better with the other berries: I picked red currants, gooseberries, and raspberries over the weekend. The bad news is that I’ve remembered why I didn’t pick them in the past. I don’t know what to do with them! We will eat them fresh of course, but after that, I’m at a bit of a loss. Thanks to my dietary restrictions, I can’t bake with them, add them to ice cream, or put them on cereal. I will probably try adding them to everything I make for a while and see what happens.

These currants are so pretty I want to make jewelry out of them.
These currants are so pretty I want to make jewelry out of them.
Gooseberries, in case you don't know what they look like.
Gooseberries, in case you don’t know what they look like.

The most embarrassing resolution of all is the one about the zucchini. I have been checking the plants constantly, which means whenever I think of it. (Fortunately, this is more often than when I have a spare moment.) For a week, there were three finger-like squash on the plant and I swear they did not change size a bit. Every time I went into the yard thinking, “I’ll need to pick them today”, I was wrong. I was waiting for them to get just a little bigger, but they were the same tiny size. Until the morning when I found two cudgels and a baseball bat where the baby zucchini had been growing.

My super-sized sneaky zucchini
My super-sized sneaky zucchini

How does the zucchini do that? I’m thinking cloaking technology, probably learned from the Romulans*. When the squash is still small, the plant turns on its cloaking device and hides the zuke until it’s big enough to feed a family of twelve. Then the cloaking device is turned off and the poor gardener (that’s me) discovers this giant squash that wasn’t even there the day before.

This makes much more sense to me than the alternative, that I just didn’t see that honking big zucchini while it was growing.

What have I learned?

  1. Resolutions are dicey things. I’m not in control over most of the stuff that goes on in my garden (especially the zucchini), so I need to focus on the process and not worry too much about the results. Enjoy the planting, pruning and weeding. Enjoy the harvesting, if there’s something to harvest. Try not to worry so much about who is going to get to eat the fruit.
  2. Gardening doesn’t stop in the yard. When the stuff comes in the house, there is more work to do. Try to enjoy that part as well (without worrying so much about getting everything eaten before it goes bad).
  3. The fact that the Technologically Advanced Zucchini theory is the best explanation I can come up with for the Sudden Appearance of the Baseball Bat Squash says something about me. I don’t know what exactly. Probably something disturbing and odd. I will ponder this when I have a spare moment.

*Maybe it’s unfair of me to assume the zucchini are evil enough to be in league with Romulans, but how can I feel otherwise? They are just so sneaky!


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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

4 thoughts on “The Sneakiness of Zucchini and Other Gardening Lessons”

    1. So it’s not just me! Glad to hear you’ve experienced it, too. Now I just have to figure out how to detect when the cloaking device is on… 🙂


  1. OMG! That is so funny! I love the zuchinni!
    Try the berries in salads, they are good with italian dressing, you might be surprised. You can also puree them with some onion and a little spicy pepper for a sauce to put on chicken and fish.


  2. I have had the currants on a cucumber salad and they were yummy. Need to start thinking about sauces… Thanks for teh ideas!


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