Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zucchini woes

I have a confession. If it grows like a weed, it probably won't do so for me.

Case in point: zucchini.

While everyone else's are starting to bear fruit, mine is struggling along at about a foot tall.

Did I amend the soil with a lot of compost you say? Yes.

Nitrogen-based? Yessiree.

Select a prime sunny spot? Check.

Water it regularly. Yep.

Give it ample space to settle in and get comfortable? Absolutely.

But, here we are in mid July and I am contemplating ripping it out. Why?

Because dedicating about three square feet to a under achiever is highly unsatisfying. Almost sacrilege in our garden - with a total of 81 square feet to work with, if you don't play, you don't stay.

In reading up on suggestions for zucchini not growing well, adding a fish emulsion was suggested. But consulting with a local nursery woman convinced me to stay away from nitrogen-based fertilizers as they might promote leaf growth and not fruit production. So, I added a layer of Bumper Crop (amazing stuff with all sorts of feed the soil amendments) to the bed and watered it in.

My online research also suggested planting new seeds near the weak plants. The idea being that if the newer plant is more robust than its predesser, then I can keep it and put the kibosh on the unsuccessful one.

Since we have a good month an a half (or more) of summer weather ahead of us and the seed packet assures me that it take just over 50 days to grow my zucchini plant I threw in some more seeds too.

Now comes the hard part. Waiting.

Just in case you think I am squash-hopeless I have several times delivered on a variety of other winter and summer squash. Zucchini just seems to be the bane of my summer gardening existence. And, every time we have to buy one at $2.99/lb (or more) my failure to successfully grow a weed rears its ugly head.

Stay tuned. I may be the weirdo begging you for your zucchini bounty. I may go down as that selfless, community-minded person who took the weight of what to do with extra zucchini off the minds of my fellow gardeners.

Or, with this taunting I could end up (finally) with a banner plant.

Just for the record here are my other Squash plants in this summer's garden.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cherry bonanza!

We kicked off the canning season this past weekend by making cherry rhubarb jam (recipe).

We chose this recipe because it is a low-sugar one, and because the cherry rhubarb combo seemed a little off the beaten path as opposed to the usual rhubarb combo a.k.a. Strawberry. (A special thank you to Jessica for the rhubarb.)

The most labor intensive part was pitting close to five pounds of fruit, but we had some good tunes on, and Mark was making some green chile and pork stew so I had some good company.

As if that weren't enough, I also decided to make a cherry clafoutis for dessert and Mark made a spinach pie. So, tonight we will eat like kings - a cup of stew followed by a piece of spinach pie and to cap it off a slice of clafoutis.

A good day indeed.