Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reflection in Zucchini

You can tell how much the zucchini has grown by looking at the growth of the leaves. Let's take a trip down memory lane together:

Remember back then when i first got the garden planted, a sophomoric novice, and went out in the evenings when i returned from work, so excited to see the results of all my labors . . . and was sooooo wrong about what was coming up? I would go out before i even thought about what should go on the table for dinner, before i did a chore, as soon as i took off my work suit and could put on some flannels and a blazer, and went out and got on my hands and knees in the dirt, nose about two inches from the ground, sniffing, loving it.

Mmmmmmm. Dirt. There is something about being so close to the earth, in your own backyard, after a long day at work, that washes away whatever happened there.

Enough of that. So - getting back to our trip down memory lane, when i first began, a bright-eyed bushy-tailed novice a couple of months ago, I thought those gross viney things were for sure the zucchini coming up. No, they were not. They are these awful root-like vines underneath the soil which produce A LOT of weeds. They are pervasive.

Then the zucchini appeared:
This represents three plants. I planted three seeds in each hole, the holes were 18 inches apart. They grew steadily and surely. There are two little leaves poking out of each plant.

Then, all of a sudden, a third, very recognizable squash-like leaf appeared.

When they got this big, I had to thin it to two plants per 18 inches.

Very quickly, a fourth leaf appeared, of the same squash-like variety.
The above photo is of a very dirty plant, which is how the plants look after it rains all day. (a frequent occurrence)

A fifth leaf appeared, then got bigger (see below photos:)

According to a gardening site, I can expect about 11 more leaves before I see flowering and actual squash:

Tending the Plants

Zucchinis usually grow at least 15 leaves before flowering. Often the first flowers are male and will not produce fruit. A female flower has a small swelling at its base, while a male flower does not. If desired, pick male flowers for eating.

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