Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First Harvest

My mother gardened like a pro when my sister and I were kids. Put us in a horrible company town 25 miles from the nearest school, with unpaved roads, party-line telephones, thieving neighbors, and frogs everywhere, and what does my mother do but put in a gorgeous rock garden that may have been the one good thing to take root in that murky geographic and psychic goo.

A few years later, we found ourselves in a better place, on a half acre across the street from a small but lively horse farm. My mother tilled that soil till the nutrients came up from the bottom. She fed us and the neighbors for pretty much four summers straight: tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, pumpkins, and buttery lettuce like you wouldn't believe. But this was always something my mother did, with her farming roots and bachelor's degree in home economics. Anything she touched seemed to bear fruit.

Not so much with me, unless you count the weeds that invaded our yard the first three years we were here. So imagine my surprise when I tucked a few zucchini seeds into our new deck planter last summer, and some little green shoots started to peek up through the soil. It wasn't long before prehistoric-looking leaves subsumed the entire bed (sorry, sweet nasturtiums and wild coreopsis), and we actually found ourselves with a yield! A real live yield we grilled in a basket on our mini Weber. Carmelized like molasses.

Our deck adores zucchini, I realized, and back went the seeds for year #2.

The first two beauties of the season are pictured at the top of this post, and at the risk of summoning one of those film strips that shows the progression of mooing cow to delicious ribeye, I'll share my zukes' evolution from stalk to plate, just about an hour ago. Here's hoping your dinner was as tasty as mine.

1 comment:

leslie said...

My dream is to one day be able to walk into my garden and pull one entire meal from it. Hasn't happened yet, but the basil is going like gangbusters, and there are a million peppers and green tomoatoes. As long as we get the red-enough tomatoes before the squirrels abscond with them, it will be a successful garden.

Congrats on your zucchini!