It hasn’t been a great year for my garden. Although the farmers market tables are thankfully, as always, overflowing with beautiful produce, my garden suffered from our travels and unusual weather. Too cold for the tomatoes, too wet for the peas, but always, no matter what the weather, just right for zucchini.
Zucchini is rarely the star of anything. I love roasted zucchini, but Mari and Thom require that zucchini be dressed up or disguised. Of course, they both love zucchini bread, which tastes as good as anything laden with sugar and cinnamon. Most of the zucchini from our garden ends up in savory meals, but I have so many this year that I’ll probably bake some chocolate zucchini muffins and zucchini cornbread this weekend.
Our Savory Meals Featuring or Disguising Zucchini
Vegetable Pancakes with Soup
Veggie Burgers & Coleslaw(salt zucchini and press out liquid before adding to coleslaw)
Frittata (precook zucchini)
Zucchini Pizzas (with roasted zucchini slices as “crust”)
Polenta with roasted vegetables and cheese
Potatoes or pastry with spinach, feta, and zucchini
Last summer, two friends and I met weekly to garden together. We rotated yards, worked for a few hours and then had lunch, brought by the visiting gardeners. We’re continuing again this summer and our first session reminded me of how much is accomplished while chatting and not even thinking about the work. In two hours, we weeded a large plot in my yard that is now planted to be a shade garden. I’ll have to keep after the weeds continually until all the plants grow and spread, but just getting to this point would not have happened without the dedicated time to gardening and the aid of my friends. Next week we’ll be at Julie’s yard, where I look forward to seeing the results of our last summer’s efforts. We share plants, ideas, and skills along with labor and lunch, and all that sharing builds our overall gardening abilities as well as our gardens.
Over the years, I’ve had multiple cooperative efforts with friends, and all have been very rewarding. Various friends and I gave our kids a tiny preschool in familiar spaces; we’ve shared childcare for young kids on a regular, rotating basis; we’ve traded family-sized dinners and, most recently, workweek lunches. I had the idea for cooperative gardening years ago, but it took a while to find a group who was ready to try it. I hope it will continue for many years.
I inherited a love of growing food and flowers. My grandparents grew amazing tomatoes, lush lettuce, and other vegetables on the perimeter of their small city lot. My parents’ garden grew all of our summer vegetables plus enough broccoli and green beans to eat all winter (from the freezer). I’ve been growing vegetables since I was a college student, when I suddenly had an urge to plant lettuce and tomatoes in pots.