Summer??? NO! NO!

Seed catalogs start arriving here in the back of beyond immediately after Christmas, and I mean (given it doesn’t fall on a Sunday) December 26. They are porn for the snowbound. In past years I fell prey to their siren song and was captivated by their air-brushed photos of juicy tomatoes and suggestive images of Genovese basil, almost, but not quite pesto. Not having lived through “real” winters in a while, I thought, “I’d better start some seeds!” and ended up with incubators (I call them) that I had to keep moving out of my way; my house doesn’t really have room for baby plants. But the “children” emerged with their two little leaves and my heart expanded with hopes that they might someday fulfill their potential. Tiny tomatoes emerged in mid-March and I defied many experts who said, “You can’t grow basil from seeds!” Well, I did.

Not this year. Still, a cue from my subconscious caused me to dream of last summer’s zucchini. It wasn’t a good dream, either. I think it combined with sleep paralysis or something. Dark times.

Last year I planted a raised bed of tomatoes, basil, chard and zucchini. It had been decades since I’d grown zucchini, and I thought it would be fun. I forgot that I don’t really like it. The zucchini grew to epic proportions (really! leaves almost as large as my dogs) It was beautiful and interesting and fascinated people from far and wide (my street and anyone who drove down from Colorado Springs or up from Durango to visit) but in the end, the result was zucchini.


This year? Salad. I’m planting salad. The best part of my garden last year was going out, picking the leaves of the Swiss chard and bringing them in for salad. The zucchini brought that to an end. The giant leaves covered the chard and attempted an invasion of the sacred ranks of tomatoes and basil (no no no no). I fought, but admit to being amazed by what the zucchini was doing. Three plants conquer the world… Then the fruit started coming.

I also am not crazy about cooking, but I made many mini loaves of zucchini bread. Some are still in my freezer. I don’t like zucchini bread all that much, either, but others do. I “shared” meaning, “Please for the love of God, take this!!!”

If I could only plant Gruyere….

24 thoughts on “Summer??? NO! NO!

  1. Porn for the snowbound. So true! Started my tomato and tomatillo seeds this weekend, and planted the early bed outside (sugar snap peas, spinach, chard, carrots, turnips.

    I do basil and thai basil from seed all the time. Works fine.

    No luck on the gruyere. My dad planted fig bars as a kid, hoping. . .

    • Yeah, I don’t know why my expert gardening friends (seriously, employed as gardeners) kept saying, “It’s hard to grow Basil from seeds” Our growing season at 7600 feet is really short. It’s like “What?” except for the farm crops — potatoes and barley.

      • and yes, I imagine that you need to take some measures like raised beds, row covers, etc to get the soil warmer earlier and have some frost protection, and you can certainly grow stuff. It also occurs to me that perhaps zucchini can be used as fodder for the backyard cow that will get your gruyere project started.

  2. It’s a think with the zuchetti. I have had plants that threatened to take over the world and others that had only leaves and no fruit, Perhaps I might try again, you have inspired me. I used to have tomatoes all through the Summer, but since one year they caught the tomato rot, I no longer bother and my body can no longer do it. Chard is good, it is Swiss and everything Swiss is good. I had the red leafed variety which are something more special. In Switzerland we tend to eat mainly the stalks. We remove the leaves (which you can cook like spinach) and chop the stalks into pieces. They are cooked and usually served in a bechamel sauce.

    • Swiss Chard is my favorite leaf. We cook them the same way. Last year I just picked the leaves when they were about 2 inches and made salad from them. That was really good. I don’t know what I’m going to do this year. I will probably have two cherry tomato plants, chard, basil but absolutely NO zucchini. I also don’t know when my surgery will be but it seems like it won’t be for 3 months anyway, so I might as well get the incubators going. I am thinking of a variety of lettuces, though we get a lot of white butterfly caterpillars…

  3. LMAO loved this! Although I love zucchini and make awesome chocolate zucchini bread which I immediately share since I can’t possibly eat it all, I would be one lining up to witness the growth of your garden. I too started basil from see (can’t remember the variety atm) but it grew beautifully becoming a large plant (I lived in an apt at the time and it was potted, living well enjoying life on my balcony) until I moved. Not sure if I’ll garden this year as I don’t get much sun on this side, and it’s too far to walk to get to the front of the house. The backyard is closest but the kids have a trampoline there and the comings and goings endless. Time will tell.

  4. Me, too. I had no idea I was defying experts by growing basil from seed every year. 😉 I did some zucchini last year, but my best squash plants have been spaghetti squash. My mesclun salad mix was awesome last year. But it sure gets back-breaking to pick it!

    • I think millions of people the world over grow basil from seed. OH well. I’m going to grow mesclun salad mix this year. I’m really. looking forward to that and, hopefully, my back will hold up! 😀

  5. So goes gardening in Colorado. After years of trying this and that, I do flowers and basil; and that’s it.I think of August as the month when everybody runs around trying to give zucchini away.

  6. I remember as a child anxiously awaiting the new seed catalogs early every spring and then fantasizing about the luxurious garden I would plant come May. Somehow it never grew as advertised or as expected.

    • 🙂 I’ve never been disappointed, but maybe my fantasies were cautious. My favorite thing I’ve ever grown was red cabbage. I couldn’t believe it grew like that, so beautiful, so cabbagesque, in my garden.

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