There’s a joke that goes around our island (I must have heard it over a dozen times now, from over a dozen different people), and probably every other place where most people are growing at least some of their own food – that the only time of year you have to lock your car is in the height of summer, and it’s not to keep your loose change or smelly gumboots or bag of dried fruit that’s been baked every day in the hot sun safe. It’s to keep your neighbours, near or far, from gifting you their surplus summer squash. I experienced this first hand growing up in the suburbs of Calgary, as we had a small garden plot on the south wall of our house. I remember growing rhubarb and strawberries and beets. I remember growing zucchini, and I remember my father giving them to me and asking me to go knock on our neighbours’ doors to profer them up. I think he may have been afraid to go himself, as he would have come home with his arms full… it’s harder to say no to a cute little redheaded girl than to a full-grown man with a zucchini the size of his arm.
I’ve known about the ferocious growth of zucchini and it’s kin since I was a child. I’ve known about it’s reputation, but our zucchini didn’t grow that well last summer, and one of our farmer friends happened to tell us that his most financially productive crop, when the amount of time spent weeding and pruning and tending and babying and harvesting is taken into account, is summer squash. So when Jeremy planted out his first tray this year, and asked me whether he needed to plant any more, I said “Sure! We’ll just pick them small! They’re delicious! I love zucchini!”
Remember. It was March. I hadn’t had a summer squash in going on 8 months. Remember. Our squash had a terrible year last year. Remember. I didn’t grow up on a farm. I only ever had 2 or 3 plants as a child.
I didn’t remember all of the warnings I’d been given. I didn’t remember wandering the block as a child, gifting these edible clubs away. I think Jer ended up planting close to 40 plants. You should SEE the zucchini we have. And only 2/3 of the plants are producing. We are going to be eating zucchini in everything. Our chickens are going to be eating zucchini. Our neighbourhood chickens are going to be eating our zucchini. Our dog is going to be eating zucchini. Our fellow islanders had better be locking their car doors or they will be eating (or composting) our zucchini too.
It’s not actually that bad. Yet. I still love zucchini. I’m still willing to eat it every day – grilled, stir-fried, on pizza, grated, in cake… but I am a little worried about when we miss a picking or two.
On a completely separate note, my flowers are ROCKING and they make me happier than even I thought was possible. I’ve been perusing these flower blogs, and I read something interesting on one of them… it talked about how we need to change the concept of flowers as being something indulgent. The world needs flowers. We all need flowers. The joy I get out of walking by my sweet pea patch or smelling them on my backsplash, washing the dishes is incalculable. Every time I see the explosion of colour from my zinnias I feel the urge (and often succumb to it) to call Jeremy over to show him. I had no idea how happy my flowers would make me. I had no idea how much of a difference it would make to my kitchen to have a bouquet in it every week that came from seeds or bulbs I (or my mother-in-law) planted. Flowers are no longer an indulgence to me, no more than coffee is (Jeremy says that he thinks of coffee as a pretty sweet indulgence… I think he’s crazy, because indulgences aren’t for the everyday… but we’ll just disagree on that point) – they’ve become part of my everyday… and one of the parts that makes me happiest.