Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Zucchini: The Home Gardener's Worst Friend? With bonus garden-related rambling.

A single of my principal gardening objectives has been to harvest more of some thing than I can eat, in spite of my restricted gardening place here in the Emerald Metropolis.  I want the emotion of abundance that will come with getting to preserve and give absent foods because I can not try to eat it all.

Enter zucchini.  My grandfather used to say that in New Jersey in summertime, you would have to maintain your vehicle doors locked, or else the vehicle would be complete of zucchini the next time you received in!  In mid-May, I planted two commences from my nearby grocery keep labeled "eco-friendly zucchini", with no even more information.  I put them in a bed that used to be a pile of composted horse manure, and that I had also cover cropped, mulched, fertilized, and loosened deeply with my broadfork.  They seem pleased.

To give you a sense of scale, these crops are about four toes tall.  Each plant has been creating about two fruit per working day for the final a number of months.  Here's a photo of my previous harvest, which is two days' worth:

I picked 6, contemplating that was a quite excellent harvest, then located a few much more lurkers underneath the leaves as I was watering.

Ethical victory is mine!  Now I have to determine out how to use it all...

Friends have been obtaining a great deal of zucchini, but I have also been exploring new ways to take in and maintain it myself, because I am obtaining sick of taking in normal cooked zucchini in every single dish.  I've found that uncooked zucchini is really great when it really is youthful and fresh it has a crisp texture and delicate flavor.  I question zucchini from the grocery retailer would be quite very good uncooked.  I've also been drying it, which is astonishingly good.  Zucchini "chips" are crunchy and a little little bit sweet.  They're excellent on their own and can also be employed alternatively of corn chips or bread for salsa and hummus.

I attempted a handful of new issues in the garden this calendar year.  One is the Interbay mulch approach, which involves placing compostable components immediately on the soil, covering with burlap and allowing it rip above the wintertime.  I utilized leaves for carbon and coffee grounds for nitrogen.  The leaves did not compost as totally as I would have favored, but I would estimate 50-60% of the materials ended up being incorporated into the mattress by the time I was completely ready to plant.  The soil isn't going to appear significantly various, but drainage appears drastically better.

The Vashon broadfork is a new addition to my instrument repertoire.  Loosening soil with a broadfork is infinitely less complicated and more quickly than with a normal yard fork or shovel, and you can also loosen more deeply (14").  The broadfork is a helpful but pricey tool that only helps make perception if you have ample land spot to make it worthwhile, and/or are obsessed with gardening.  I think the broadfork has something to do with how very good my backyard looks this yr, though the regularly scorching weather has surely helped!  One of my beds received three" in top following loosening with the broadfork, a confident indication that compaction was going to restrict root expansion in my crops.  Deep loosening enables roots to penetrate additional into the soil, rising mineral and drinking water access.

The third new point I attempted this calendar year is corn.  The maritime Northwest is acknowledged for its fairly cool summers and short summer developing year, which conspire to make corn cultivation tough.  It can supposedly be done with a tiny forethought though.  I planted a super early sweet corn range called "Robust Start off", which seems fantastic so considerably, even though they haven't created ears however.

I am most enthusiastic about the handful of crops of "Painted Mountain" corn I planted.  This is a flour corn harvested for dry grain, fairly than a sweet corn harvested for clean eating.  Painted Mountain is an open-pollinated corn created by

Title: Zucchini: The Home Gardener's Worst Friend? With bonus garden-related rambling.
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