Bring me your piles of green

zucchini-2See that to the left there, that photo? That is what we call les courgettes, people. I can see you all now, rolling your eyes, ready to launch into the annual moan and groan of those whose gardens overfloweth with zucchini.


Bring them to me instead. Here’s the deal: I love zucchini, love love love it, and somehow it knows that and refuses to grow in my garden. I’d take a crappy cell phone photo of how nastily it doesn’t grow in my garden and post it here, but that would make me even sadder than I already am about the lack of zucchini in my life.

I planted six hills of three zucchini seeds each this year, thinking that maybe this year would be my year. Maybe this year would be the year that I, too, could whine and moan about all the zucchini I was so overwhelmed with, maybe I, too, could leave bags of zucchini on neighboring steps under cover of darkness.

But no. To date, there have forthcome from my garden (don’t roll your eyes at that phrasing either) only two small green zucchini and three tiny yellow zucchini (also known, in my homeland, as summer squash). I sauteed them all in garlic and olive oil with plenty of salt and ate them in one sitting. Since then – and this was a few weeks ago – nada.

What am I doing wrong? I do not have a thumb of death. That is how my neighbor describes herself, recounting the days when she had an entire room in her apartment set aside as a houseplant mausoleum. My thumb is pretty damn green, and I’m not saying that in self-defense. I specialize in wildly multiplying perennials, and my gardens are awash in flowers.

So  it’s maddening that the one thing that grows out of control in everyone else’s garden refuses to grow in mine. When I was visiting my parents a month or so ago I went out to inspect my father’s garden. Good Lord! It’s a garden of dreams, including his three long rows of zucchini plants, each of which was laden with les courgettes (say it, you’ll like the way that phrase rolls off the tongue), including one that was harboring a giant the size and color of a small crocodile, which I plucked and hauled up to the house so that everyone could marvel at the enormity of it.

And then there’s me, the disgruntled one at the Farmer’s Market lugging the three trays of zucchini around in the plastic bag, having forked over her weekly $5. What is wrong with me?


  1. Ginger · August 18, 2010

    Bees? I think we had that problem when we lived in MI. No pollination.

    Regardless of the reason why, I am sorry about your lack of les courgettes. I, too, love them–especially sauteed, with a yogurt-dill-garlic-cayenne sauce on top (via Deborah Madison). Yum.


  2. Lucy · August 18, 2010

    When I was little, they were unknown in England. Instead we had marrows, which were exactly the same thing but just allowed to grow to a ridiculous size and become almost inedible, heaven only knows why, since they are so prolific and so much better eaten small. Courgettes were foreign and suspect, I suppose!

    I heard that somewhere, I think it might have been Salt Lake City, you are warned never to leave your car unlocked overnight during the zucchini season, as when you return to it in the morning it will be stuffed full of zucchini!

    All squash plants have such beautiful form and flowers too, I think. You can even eat those, of course, but I must say I’ve never tried.


  3. John Z · August 23, 2010

    Location, location, location. Once thought of as merely a–the–variable in the real estate biz, it is now apparently insinuated itself into “the zucchini situation.” The Farmers’ Markets up in the 3/4ths-of-the-Way-to-Fargo growing zone have been well-stocked with greens and yellows; little cute ones and ones that we refer to as Ethel Mermans (okay, we really don’t call them that, but how does one describe zucchini that is larger than life?). Going price: 25 cents at some stands; 20 at others. If I’d only known, I would’ve sent a boxful with the Thorson Memorial Kids taking the Julia Gillian tour.


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