Thursday, August 8, 2013

Garden Fairies

It's the easiest vegetable to grow, the one that makes it necessary to lock your car in summer so neighbors won't dump their surplus into it. And yet, for the past three summers I've barely been able to grow any zucchini.  This year's plants yielded a single small one--it was tender and delicious--before expiring.

On the other hand, I can grow eggplants like nobody's business.  Right now my six plants are so overloaded they're leaning into each other like drunks coming out of a pub.  I grow the cucumber-shaped Japanese variety, and they're hanging off the branches in grape-like bunches, starting with tiny two-inch ones at the top down to banana-sized ones at the bottom.

Yesterday I picked nine.  I must do something with them right away.  But they are so perfectly purple, shiny and decorative that it seems a pity to slice them and roast them and put them in the freezer.  While I dither about yesterday's harvest, who knows how many more have matured overnight?

Pleased though I am with the eggplants, I still can't understand my bad luck with zucchini.  I have grown it successfully in the past, so why not now? After two years of failures, this summer I planted the zucchini in front of the house, as far as I could get it from the garden.  Different soil, different ambiance, same result:  dead plants.

It must be fate.

Or fairies (same thing--the word "fairy" comes from the Greek for "fate")

It's entertaining and relaxing, since it absolves me of responsibility, to stand back and view the garden as the playground of little folk.  It might explain all sorts of mysteries, such as the amazing resurrection of the arugula, the holes in the bean leaves, and the sunflower that towers like a satellite dish over the tomato bed.

I'm thinking that the powerful and ambitious eggplant fairies, in their quest for supremacy in the garden, have driven out the zucchini folk.  I can't wait to see what happens when they take on the kale.

6 comments :

  1. Yes, one thing I could always grow when al else failed was zucchini. I never learned how to prepare it and freeze it, so we ate it as it became ripe. I did have a good recipe for it that we didn't grow tired of and that involved Parmesan cheese. It was finger licking good. Literally!

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  2. If you plan to cook it later, zucchini can be frozen without prior blanching. I love Parmesan--it makes even kale tolerable.

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  3. I love this -- thinking that it is the fairies that make or break a garden. Of course I am on the side of the fairies whatever they choose to do. I love the illustration too.

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  4. Thanks, Dona. I'm going to start attributing more of the inexplicable stuff that happens around here to the little people.

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  5. Oh, I love the idea of dueling faeries!

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  6. At night I can hear their grunts and yells...

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