FrankenSquash

Show of hands: who’s glad to have some warm days mixed into each week? Yep, spring is in the air. My optimistic self drools over seed packets, planning what yummy things I’ll grow this year. But now, while we’re waiting for that last frost to come and go, it’s time to GET REAL. Is my optimism warranted, or do I just get a bit manic around… dirt?

I might as well confess I am the only person in North America who simply cannot raise zucchini. Anyone else would toss a couple of seeds out there and end up with bushels of the stuff. Not me. I plant a dozen seeds, or even buy already-started plants and set them out. Results? loads of pretty orange blossoms that never set any fruit. Or maybe a couple of pale, embryonic squash that get about as big as half-used crayons before they shrivel up and turn a nasty yellowish color.

I have slightly more success composting the seeds from store-bought melons and spaghetti squash. I’ve harvested as many as three cantaloupes or spaghetti squashes out of the quarter mile of vines that sprawl over the garden. But seeds from store-bought zucchini won’t sprout because the zucchini are not “ripe” when you buy them. The seeds are thin, tender things that you don’t even notice you are eating. You certainly don’t bother to remove them before cooking the squash, so none of the seeds ever make it to the compost tub.

Last season I gave up on zucchini — didn’t even buy seeds. Instead I composted grape-tomatoes, bell peppers and spaghetti squash seeds in between the usual clumps of volunteer carrots. I also bought and set out a Japanese Eggplant, which produced one cigar-sized fruit before succumbing to stage fright. But never mind that.

One morning, after a few weeks of busily ignoring the garden, I wandered out there and noticed a fruit growing on one of the vines. It looked like… a zucchini! But how? I didn’t plant any! A closer look showed it was marked like a zucchini, but oval-shaped, more like a spaghetti squash. Weeks later it started showing yellow streaks. It wasn’t getting any prettier, so I picked it.
FrankenSquash

Clearly it had to be some sort of squash-related fruit. What to do? Why, slice and sauté it in a little olive oil, of course. So I sliced….
Squash1

…and found some pretty gnarly seeds in there. Like spaghetti squash seeds.
Seeds, yike!

No worries, you just cut the seedy middles out and cook it like zucchini, just as planned…right?
Trimmed and ready

Nice try. The squash was green, and mostly sort of looked like zucchini, but its daddy could have been a pumpkin or a Goodyear tire or a bullet-proof vest. Sauteing did NOT tenderize the rind. I’ll spare you a photo of the cooked-and-half-eaten results.

I never did figure out what sort of monster hybrid I had, um, created.

Oh well, spring’s a-comin. Another gardening season beckons.

Japanese Eggplant, anyone??

Thanks for reading,
Jan
PS: Join me at the blog party with Jen’s Soli Deo Gloria group!

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4 Responses to FrankenSquash

  1. Oh, Jan, we have the same Spring fever….I got excited last weekend when things warmed up here and snapped a photo of all my seed packets in waiting….but no compost got into the ground ’cause it got cold and rainy again pretty quickly.
    This so made me smile. I hope you have some better success with your mutations this year . You could patent them. 🙂

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  2. I’m not sure anyone would want to patent that mutation! Weaponize it, maybe……

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  3. Dionne says:

    I love it…mad scientist happenings in your garden! I had a peanut plant start growing one year and I thought it was a weed and pulled it. I was sad about that…only I am not sure it could grow in my area. I am about ready to plant my cool-loving crops. Oh, yeah! Hope you have a great garden this year. Hugs!!

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  4. Jen Ferguson says:

    This is so funny. Oh my goodness – what a hybrid you created!! I hope my little baby zucchini doesn’t whither!

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