Adventures in Gardening and the W.A.D.s

Stressful isn’t a word I would have ever associated with gardening. When we got rid of our sons’ play set, I had a big space in the yard perfect for a garden and I was very excited about the prospect of growing our own food. I had so much fun setting it up, and planning what I would plant. The first year’s “harvest” was a complete joke, although in my defense, I did get a really late July start. The thought occurred to me that with the amount I had spent on this garden, I could have bought fruits and veggies from a farmer’s market for the next ten years.

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There was some good eatin’ that year!

The second year I began to get the hang of it. I got advice from seasoned gardeners and I was starting to think this was really going to work. A friend told me that I would need to cover my strawberries as they are a favorite of birds and squirrels.  Heeding her advice, I bought a net to cover them, and the thought occurred to me that I could have bought 24 lbs of strawberries for the cost of the net.

The net did work, and I didn’t lose one strawberry, however I did have some visitors that tried in vain to get in. My netting had new holes weekly. And although the netting was an effective deterrent, it kind of deterred me as well. It was a pain to take on and off, and lowered the fun factor of picking my own strawberries.

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Nothing ever got in, but they tried.

I did more research and discovered that some people swear by putting rubber snakes in their strawberry patches. Others swear by metallic pinwheels. I really wanted to ditch the net, so I decided to give both a try. Lo and behold, they work! It’s necessary to move the snakes every couple of days otherwise birds and other critters will catch on to the ruse, but besides seeing big, ripe strawberries, it’s my favorite part of strawberry picking. I like to get creative with their placement.

 

Zucchini is a staple for most gardeners and who was I to disagree? Before having my own, I always loved the gifts of zucchini I’d received from my friends and neighbors over the years. Who doesn’t love a warm slice of zucchini bread? Being a novice and embarrassingly, having had never seen a zucchini plant, the first year I planted six seeds in my new basement growing area (I could have purchased fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market for another three years for the cost of this setup) and all of them thrived. I mentioned to a friend that I had six plants going and she said, “Have you ever seen a zucchini plant? They are monstrous.” I gave away two of my seedlings, thinking that four would be a perfect number. It wasn’t. Seedlings are so cute and little, but my friend was right; these cute, little things DO become monstrous and the four just became a big mess, choking each other off and not producing much of anything. I told you that first year was a complete joke.

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My over-zealous first year. Good grief, it was ridiculous.

Now in year three, I only planted two and was quite excited when my big, beautiful zucchini plants started producing. And producing. And then my excitement turned to concern, and then stress. Dang, these things are prolific! How was I going to keep up with them?! There’s only so much zucchini bread you can eat. Ahhh, I’ll give them to friends and neighbors who have given them to me over the years, I thought. But when I began asking if anyone wanted zucchini, I got the same answer over and over. “I can’t even keep up with my own!”

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Zucchini plants are massive.

And here’s another thing I didn’t know about growing zucchini. They go from cute to obscene literally overnight. There have been many exclamations of “my god, look at the size of that thing!!!” To which, if any of my family is around, the reply is, “that’s what she said.” Holden and his roommate took one back to their dorm and left it as a gift on a friend’s doorstep. He said that zucchini made the rounds in the dorm for weeks until it began deteriorating. Add that as a new use for zucchini…a gag gift.

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One of many obscenities I produced. This is “dorm zucchini”.

I bought a spiralizer, which was a game changer for a short while. While zoodles are easy and delicious, their possibilities are quickly exhausted: meat sauce, sausage in sauce, and shrimp in butter/garlic sauce. I did try a few casseroles, which were okay, but I needed something more. My zucchinis were multiplying like rabbits. In a burst of inspiration, I began using them in place of bread items, Sausage, peppers, and onions in a zucchini roll, thick crust zucchini pizza, soft zucchini shell tacos. We are unwittingly on a low carb diet, but I am limited only by my imagination.

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The spiralizer is awesome for lots of things. Cucumber salad is now a fave. Yes, those are my cucumbers and tomatoes. 🙂

I began calling these creations W.A.D.s or Weird Ass Dinners, but you know what, they don’t taste half bad! And most importantly, we are keeping up with these buggers. I have come to accept the fact that for the next two decades I will be in the red as far as my garden goes, but there’s really a sense of enjoyment and pride in eating food you’ve grown yourself. I do think next year I’ll only plant one zucchini though. Until then, long live Weird Ass Dinners.

 

 

29 Comments on “Adventures in Gardening and the W.A.D.s

  1. Entertaining post. I am a beginner gardener too, year two for me, this year I only planted 5 tomato plants and it still overwhelmed everything, (I had cut down from 8). I had already been warned about the zucchini. I have the same problem with my strawberry plants, if I cover them with the netting the birds don’t get them but then neither do I – it’s too much effort to try and untwist the twist ties to get under them. Although one day I had a big black crow under the netting, and had to turn the garden hose on it to urge it to get out. The snakes sound like a great idea, I was wondering where you buy them?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the story of your gardening learning curve, which was pretty quick! Yes, set-up costs can be pricey, but most of it will last a life-time and I’ve never regretted any of the $ spent on mine. Great recipe ideas, except I need zucchini…mine succumbed to squash bugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carolee! I know I won’t regret the costs either, especially now that I’m getting the hang of it. That’s too bad about your zucchini. I hope the bugs don’t come back next year. Happy gardening!

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  3. Love your post. Also have a garden and usually produces entirely too much, but didn’t do so well this year. But enough. Many good zucchini recipes online, of course. This weekend, Labor Day weekend, at Boulder Creek Hometown Festival (always fun) they have the Great Zucchini Race. You might enjoy it. During the day, each of the 3 days. Kids buy giant zucchini, wheels included. Great decorating material included in price. Then every few minutes (maybe 10 minutes) they race on a wide slide. Kids keep their decorated zucchini. Also duck races are Monday at 2 p.m. At least something to make you smile about all those giant zucchinis. Like your other readers, I’ll be looking for rubber snakes in the spring. Great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a blast! Thanks for letting me know. We will have to miss this year, as we’ll be out of town, but the zucchini race sounds like something I need to see. And I love that you know the exact time of the duck races. 🙂 I look forward to hearing if your snakes are a success!

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  4. I read this lovely post with great interest. I don’t have green fingers and there’re some very good tips to pick up from the post. There’s a plum tree, strawberry and rose bushes in our garden, and I’d love to grow vegetables. That zucchini is huge! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re absolutely right. Nothing more satisfying than growing and eating your own fruit and vegies.I’m always covering my strawberries with netting, but I’m going to give those snakes a go this Summer. And W.A.D’s are the best!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. oh zucchini’s! I think one year we grew on close to the size of a small baseball bat. We created a stuffed zucchini boat and it was not half bad. We learned one plant is usually more than enough for us though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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