Summer 2011, what didn’t work: No love for zucchini here

Actually, it wasn’t that the zucchini didn’t do well in the garden last summer. It did way, way, way too well! I’ve heard others say that it just keeps giving and giving, and it did. Once again — like my neighbor’s advice that corn wouldn’t grow in my garden — I didn’t listen. Plus, it turned out no one in the family really liked it. Couldn’t give it away either. Won’t. Plant. It. Again. Ever.

The cucumbers (Boston Pickling, Livingston Seed Co.) didn’t do too well this past summer either. That was my fault. I planted them too near the pumpkins, which took over and strangled the cukes. It was a bummer because it’s another one of those fresh fruit/veggies that I love to take to work for snacks during the summer. My daughter loves them, too. I’ll try to find a spot where they can breathe this summer.

The rhubarb I planted the first summer still hasn’t done much for me. I’m not sure what the problem is. It’s a bummer because I love rhubarb crisp in the summer and only got enough for one 9×9-inch pan last year. Is there such a thing as not giving rhubarb enough love? I thought it was one of those vegetables that, once planted, took off on its own and didn’t require much thought. I promise to try better this year.

All told, the positives far outweighed the negatives in last year’s garden. There’s absolutely no reason to be unhappy about it.

But there are a few lessons I can learn:

Don’t wait until April 15 to decide what to plant. Make a list of what worked (see earlier blog posts). Add at least one ingredient to my garden booyah, something that would add flavor to what I think already is a pretty good stew. Make sure to consider whether my garden space is big enough to hold it all. I have plenty of room to expand, but whether I should is something altogether different. Don’t forget to check out the seed catalogs early to see what’s new. Again, make note of what looks good and in which catalog I saw it. There’s nothing more annoying than picking up a seed catalog after I’ve planted only to see I forgot something.

Don’t get too antsy about the actual planting. Get the tiller out early and check it over. That means several weeks before I want to plant — not at 6:30 the morning the day of. My back will thank me. And, it should also help with the next lesson: Don’t force myself to plant everything in one fell swoop. Get a crop of lettuce, peas and beans early, then come back with more in a couple weeks.

Tomatoes. Resist the temptation to buy all bigger plants that mature earlier in the summer but poop out earlier in the fall, too. This is going to be difficult. Tomato withdrawal is at its worst for me in the spring – especially after a visit to a garden center where the tantalizing smell of those gorgeous green leaves sucks me in. All logic goes out the window. I may need some reassurance from other garden bloggers to convince me that I really will thank myself in the long run!

I suppose starting this blog could be considered the first step of my journey to being a better gardener. I’m pretty sure I’ll burn or spill the booyah along the way, but with the help of fellow gardeners, I’ll make the necessary adjustments. Only time will tell.

4 responses to this post.

  1. One word for you: Ratatouille. I didn’t think I liked eggplant or zucchini, but this stuff is so good now I grow both, along with the tomatoes I always grew. Maybe you could bum a couple little zucchini from your neighbors just to try it in case (perish the thought) you don’t like it. Oh, and how could I forget? There’s always zucchini bread!

  2. I need to learn those lessons too. Believe me, I try. But for whatever reason, I still manage to make some of the same mistakes year after year.

  3. Thanks Jeff! I’m also glad to hear from another Wisconsin blogger. What part of the state do you live in?

  4. Great Blog! It’s always nice to find other Wisconsin Blogs.
    Much Success

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