Taming the Garden

Dang. I’ve missed one of the best holidays of the year: August 8 was Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night.

Now, living above the 45th parallel as I do, my garden has barely started producing—we’re still enjoying the flower stage. But gardener-writers in plenty of other locales have been simultaneously harvesting zukes and sharpening their pencils for the annual tradition of the overproducing-summer-squash humor piece.

I have mainly seen this type of story from U.S. writers, like this scribe in the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal who references the lock-your-car-or-find-it-full-of-zucchini myth:

You shouldn’t assume this is just another urban legend, says cookbook author Andrea Chesman. ‘It happened to me on my birthday one year,’ she wrote in her cookbook, ‘Serving Up The Harvest,’ adding: ‘I am still plotting my revenge.’

But it’s not only Yankees who are on the receiving end of bounteous zucchini. The UK Guardian’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares a very British version of zuke humor in “Courgette Set.” Warning, opaque-to-Americans Britishisms ahead:

Nothing gluts quite like courgettes. One moment you’re rustling among the prickly leaves … looking for the first finger-sized, orange-flowered stick of speckled green to carry triumphantly to the kitchen; the next, you’re bundling armfuls of thigh-sized marrows hither and thither, wondering if they can be hollowed out to make umbrella stands. How do they get to be so many, so big, so fast? I don’t know, but this summer my research has proved that a courgette can double in size in the time it takes Monty Panesar to bowl out three Indians. And that’s allowing for rain and bad light.

If you have too much zucchini on your hands, perhaps Barbara Kingsolver, via the Cleaner Plate Club, can help. And a batch of ratatouille is a good way to use up a squash or two.