This summer ended up being much better than planned, but it did include some great things at my job such as planning summer fun-filled events, redeveloping an entire municipal website and launching a community outreach effort. In between that, I did find time to get out to the garden and fill it with veggies that spilled onto our table, filled the fridge and even filled the freezer for winter cooking.
Two years ago we rebuilt our garden boxes to be raised from the ground and filled with plentiful soil that would result in a great looking garden. That effort continues to pay off in the garden as I’ve never seen our garden get so big! I have staples that get planted every year such as zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions and lettuce. But this year I tried a few new items.
Cucumbers – For years I hated the taste of a cucumber. I think it was something about the texture that just didn’t agree with me. In recent years I’ve come to enjoy them, but not from my garden this year. I got a bad variety that resulted in such bitter cucumbers I had to pick them out of my salads! For those of you out there who garden, who’s got a good variety I can try next year?
Potatoes – Growing up my mom always planted potatoes. After all our garden when I was little was a massive crop that took up a large portion of the yard. We’d plant rows of potatoes, green beans, corn, peas, carrots and more. Then there was the massive raspberry and strawberry patch that us kids would just sit in and eat from the vines until we were full. I thought it would be fun to try planting potatoes so I started early and got two plants into the ground in about mid-April. For anyone living in Colorado this year we’ve had some strange weather with snow dumping in late April and flooding in September. (I can’t imagine what this winter will be like?!?) With the snow coming last April I covered the potato plants but they still got stung pretty bad. I cut them back and just waited to see what would happen. While they did finally take off and resulted in a good sized plant, the potatoes were only about the size of a dime or nickel. Guess that will be something I try again next year.
Broccoli – The hubby and I love broccoli so we thought we might as well try it in the garden. What we can tell you is that the plants grew, and grew, until they sprouted flowers on top. We never really got any broccoli, but we had a pretty big plant!
The rest of the garden resulted in great produce this summer with about five types of onions, lettuce that keep us munching on leafy greens, tomatoes of all sizes and of course enough zucchini for casseroles throughout the winter. I diced, grated and sliced another 56 cups that are in the freezer ready for another tasty creation.
The zucchini plants have blown up and invaded our house. When I planted the garden this spring in our nice, newly raised garden boxes, I left about half of the box for the zucchini thinking this would be plenty of space for the plants to stretch their branches out and produce some fresh zucchini to fill our table. The plants have now encroached on the second half of the box. You can no longer see my two bell pepper plants without wading through the massive leaves from the zucchini. The giant has spilled over the edges of the box and shaded anything below it. For any of the bugs living below, I apologize. It’s like having Bigfoot encroach on your village.
For those of you who haven’t ever grown zucchini, let me tell you, these things grow like weeds in my garden. Do they do that in anyone else’s garden? I pulled one off the plant yesterday that measures 21.5 inches long and 14 inches in diameter! To my knowledge, I’m the only one around who grows zucchini, which is good since I can usually give some of it away. The rest gets grated, diced and chopped. Not only do I love this veggie grilled up crisp on the grill or sauteed into my favorite casseroles, but this green giant tastes splendid in bread!
People wait for my zucchini bread every season to hit the market. Some of my former coworkers just waited until I brought in the freshly baked loaves to pounce on the bag and cut off chunks of the bread to devour bite by bite. The hubby recently took two loaves to work and within 30 minutes, there was nothing left. Hummmm, maybe I need to start selling these?
Here’s a few of my favorite recipes:
Blueberry Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Skillet with Spicy Sausage
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mexican Zucchini Soup
What’s your favorite way to cook with zucchini?