Zucchini Madness

July 22, 2008 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

Hello. My name is Three Herbs and I have a problem with zucchini.

Right now I have seven zucchinis in my vegetable crisper, three pints of pureed zucchini in the freezer and three quart bags of frozen chunked zucchini. And four lusty hills of the stuff are out in the garden growing more. I can almost hear them.

As a warning to others, I relay the story of my relationship with zucchini. Sure, I read the stories and watched the training films. But of course I didn’t think it could happen to me. Garrison Keelor’s advice to lock the car in the church parking lot so that neighbors could not leave bags of green ball bats on the seat seemed as fanciful to me as snow must to a Fiji Islander. For years if I got enough zucchini for one or two nice meals featuring it that was a bountiful gardening year indeed.

Three words. Squash vine borers. They were the bane of my zucchini existence and did a bang-up job ruining my crop each year. Over time I got reckless and expansive in my zucchini planting habits. I routinely put in an entire raised bed of the stuff, hoping against hope for one or two squashes to make it through the borer onslaught.

The ironic part is that I knew a way around this difficulty or thought I did or might. Years and years back I had read that protection against squash borers could be had by planting some tobacco in with the seeds of one’s squash plants. The theory, I believe, is that the nicotine (a natural pest poison) made it’s way through the zucchini circulatory system and kept borers at bay. I even sorta kinda remembered trying it once in a small garden far from here. And seeing it work. The problem was that since I don’t smoke, spit, chew or hang with those who do I kept not having any tobacco on hand when I planted my zucchini.

This year I was prepared. This year when I picked up a packet of zucchini seeds from the rack in my local grocery store, I also procured a pouch of the cheapest chewing tobacco on offer. I planted my usual bed of zucchini and added in a pinch of tobacco on each hill.

The rains came and kept on coming. The weather turned warm and then hot. The vines prospered. The squash borers vanished. I haven’t seen one. The squash plants are enormous and still growing and incredibly healthy. And there are a lot of them, aren’t there? All producing madly.

Be careful what you wish for 🙂


Entry filed under: gardening, Piedmont.

A Whirlwind Week July Surprise

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