Tuesday, November 15, 2011

(AF) I Picked the Squash!

  Hey, Dave, I finally picked our squash!

This past spring when it was time to plant zucchini, we had such heavy rains that I decided to wait a bit. Then, when I finally went to plant them, record breaking heat and drought set in. So I decided to plant my zucchini in a giant flower pot I have, up close to my garden hose where it would be easy to water, and partially shaded in the heat of the day.

I planted 3 or 4 kinds of zucchini in that big ole pot, but it was so hot none of the seeds would germinate. Some seeds were new, and some were old, but I do believe the heat was the biggest problem. Determined to get some fresh zucchini, I planted several times. Finally, after over a month of trying, ONE lonely zucchini plant came up. But I wasn't sure which one, so I had to patiently wait for it to grow, bloom, and produce.

And bloom it did! It bloomed heavily. It was so pretty. The plant got enormously huge, bloomed abundantly, and began to put on many little squashes. But much to my dismay, the heat caused them to all wither and fall off, no matter how much I watered it. As the heat dropped down into the lower 90s, I pushed the pot out into more sunshine and kept on pampering my squash plant, determined to get at least a few meals off of it.

Finally, one lonely zucchini began to grow, and grow, and grow. It turned out to be the Cocozelle Zucchini I had planted, the oldest zucchini seeds I had. And I had pretty much used them all up trying to get one to grow. So as much as Dave and I wanted to eat that delicious looking zucchini, we decided to let the first one just grow so that we could save the seeds from it to plant for next year, then we would eat any that came on after that, as it was still blooming heavily.

But no such luck, no more zucchinis set on the plant. Oh, how we wanted to eat this one! But if we did, there wouldn't be any for next year, unless we searched around and hunted down more seeds, as the garden center I purchased these from is no longer in business. I covered the plant over with netting to keep the critters away from it, and babied and pampered that squash like I have never babied a plant before! It wasn't quite ready to pick, yet, when the first few freezes/frosts came, so we even covered it up with blankets and tucked it in each time the temps even looked like they might dip.

And today, the Cocozelle Zucchini looked like it was finally completely ripe and the sturdy plant that it grew from is obviously turning itself off. So I picked it this evening and it is now settled in amongst my pile of winter squashes in my back room. I will admire its beauty for a couple of days, then I will cut it open and see how many seeds we get. I do hope it is a lot. It sure looks yummy and I hope to grow LOTS of them next season!

Cocozelle Zucchini are an heirloom summer squash that came here from Italy. I have read that, even today, they are still the best flavored zucchini on the market. I can't wait to find out!

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