Growing zucchini can be tricky at our house. We have a small yard with a big garden and once we attract insects like squash bugs or squash vine borers, it’s tough to find a way to give our plants a pest-free zone.
One year in an attempt to save them from the bugs overwintering in our soil, we moved the zucchini to the front yard — only to have them chomped completely by bigger pests, like deer maybe, or skunks.
But this year we’ve been lucky. Our plants have thrived and the attackers have stayed at bay.
Maybe a little too lucky.
We returned from four days away this month to find the zucchini plants bursting with 14-plus pounds of gorgeous green squash. We began picking and shredding and freezing. I asked myself: How many bags of shredded zucchini can a family eat in a year? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty-four?
At close to 20, I switched gears and began cooking zucchini three meals a day: zucchini pancakes, zucchini fritters, zucchini fritatta, sauteed zucchini, zucchini crisps, zucchini muffins and zucchini chocolate cake. I am glad these squash are tasty and versatile … and that my children love baked goods with zucchini hidden inside.
It’s times like these when I am tempted to feel overwhelmed by our garden. What are we supposed to do with all these veggies? I get frustrated, too, by the imprecision of it all. Wouldn’t it be nice to plant four little squash plants and know you’d get exactly 35 zucchini as your yield?
But, of course, it doesn’t work that way. We could plant six beautiful healthy plants … and get nothing but flowers, like last year. Or we could plant 10 zucchini seedlings and have them all attacked by insects.
So I have decided to replace my frustration with gratitude. I am truly grateful to have ziplock after ziplock of shredded zucchini to turn into muffins and quick bread and cake this winter. I am thankful to have had many a meal over the past few weeks feature zucchini as its main attraction.
And what I can’t eat and don’t want to put up, well, I’m just hoping my friends are having an off-zucchini year and will be happy to take some of my extras.