Seed catalogs start arriving here in the back of beyond immediately after Christmas, and I mean (given it doesn’t fall on a Sunday) December 26. They are porn for the snowbound. In past years I fell prey to their siren song and was captivated by their air-brushed photos of juicy tomatoes and suggestive images of Genovese basil, almost, but not quite pesto. Not having lived through “real” winters in a while, I thought, “I’d better start some seeds!” and ended up with incubators (I call them) that I had to keep moving out of my way; my house doesn’t really have room for baby plants. But the “children” emerged with their two little leaves and my heart expanded with hopes that they might someday fulfill their potential. Tiny tomatoes emerged in mid-March and I defied many experts who said, “You can’t grow basil from seeds!” Well, I did.
Not this year. Still, a cue from my subconscious caused me to dream of last summer’s zucchini. It wasn’t a good dream, either. I think it combined with sleep paralysis or something. Dark times.
Last year I planted a raised bed of tomatoes, basil, chard and zucchini. It had been decades since I’d grown zucchini, and I thought it would be fun. I forgot that I don’t really like it. The zucchini grew to epic proportions (really! leaves almost as large as my dogs) It was beautiful and interesting and fascinated people from far and wide (my street and anyone who drove down from Colorado Springs or up from Durango to visit) but in the end, the result was zucchini.
This year? Salad. I’m planting salad. The best part of my garden last year was going out, picking the leaves of the Swiss chard and bringing them in for salad. The zucchini brought that to an end. The giant leaves covered the chard and attempted an invasion of the sacred ranks of tomatoes and basil (no no no no). I fought, but admit to being amazed by what the zucchini was doing. Three plants conquer the world… Then the fruit started coming.
I also am not crazy about cooking, but I made many mini loaves of zucchini bread. Some are still in my freezer. I don’t like zucchini bread all that much, either, but others do. I “shared” meaning, “Please for the love of God, take this!!!”
If I could only plant Gruyere….