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Undeserved Abundance

Sometimes people new to gardening ask me questions that suggest they're actually kind of frightened of the whole enterprise: "But isn't it hard?" "I'm afraid of starting with seeds." "What if I mess up?"

The last one usually makes me laugh. My gardening adventures are sort of a lurch from mess up to mess up. For instance, while taking a walk today and seeing zinnias all over, I realized that none of my flowers, not even the stalwart sunflowers, sprouted. That's probably because of my ongoing irrigation problems. Mess up!!

What I tell neophytes, and what I've been telling myself over the last week or so, is that the garden and you are on the same side. Seeds want to grow, plants want to bear, and you presumably want the same thing.

That's a teensy bit more difficult to hold in my consciousness when it seems that what the garden wants to do is to bury me under a groaning mass of unrelenting harvests. But why complain?

The Blenheim apricot trees, despite a whole lot of neglect on my part, have so many apricots on them that one tree is in danger of losing limbs. They just hang out there, looking like little flame-colored jewels, but not getting much riper.

Until yesterday. The signal apparently went out. I've been trying to keep up.

Meanwhile, the zucchini are mounting a sneak attack, coming to ripeness under big leaves (so far unvisited by powdery mildew, thank you very much). Hey, did you know you could fight the dreaded PM with milk? Go, check it out. I'll wait. . .

Anyhow, zucchini after zucchini after zucchini. I'm making bread, making sautee'd zucch, and am thinking of making tortilla soup.

The real stars of the too much of a good thing olympics have been Marketmore 76 cukes. I only planted one vine, estimating correctly that that would be enough. Last year I was gobsmacked at how gorgeous they were, and they're just as beautiful this year. And yet. . . I don't eat that many cucumbers!

The kids are all over this year -- camps, preparing for a national frisbee tournament, hanging out with friends -- I"m never 100% sure if I'm going to have one to eight people to feed. Unfortunately, none of the potential eaters have proved to be great cucumber devourers.

So I'm quick-pickling slices (that's two huge cukes in a quart jar) and my refrigerator has a designated "preserves" corner, so folks will know where to look for peppers in oil, pickled beans, or jars of fruit that didn't seal. I know from observing the signs that some kids are eating after I go to bed -- maybe they will be tempted by the new display. Unfortunately, that jar didn't make a huge dent in the piled up cucumbers in my refrigerator. I'm having a tea tomorrow, so there will probably be cucumbers in sandwiches, so that will help. Of course, I know the plants are out there conspiring. . .

If you head over to Daphne's blog, you can see what other people are harvesting from their gardens.


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