Tags: anticipation, Beauty, changing seasons, crookneck squash, cyclical living, drought, harvest, impermanence, irregular rain, Italian delicacy, mildew, Native American food source, squash blossom, victory garden
I think I mentioned that most of the zucchini and crookneck squash got mildew after going so long without any rain and then… the deluge. Well, it’s rained a lot more often since then, and the temps have begun to drop off at night. Summer squash (including zucchini) prefer the heat, or so I’ve heard. And it looks like it’s true.
My remaining zucchini have quit producing anything but male blossoms. (I can’t figure that out. How would that be a helpful reproductive strategy as the seasonal window draws to a close?) And my last crookneck squash plants have finally succumbed to the mildew. It is far too late to spray with a copper-soap mixture to try and prevent the mildew. Frankly, I never thought this would be a problem with our dry, dry weather this year. But it is now spreading faster than the mature plants can pump out new, glossy green leaves. Although they still blossom valiantly. (See above.)
I’m going to miss those flowers. The zukes were the first to flower this spring, and the sight of those cheery yellow blooms thrilled me to my toes. They are so unpretentious, so enormous and bright, so uncomplicated, and so wildly abundant all summer, and I’m only now realizing how I’d come to take them for granted. Now that I’m aware each one could be the last, I feel the need to celebrate them, to share their everyday, sunny beauty. Like all beauty (and like all ugliness and every other thing in the universe), their presence in my life is impermanent.
It’s good to be reminded.
And it’s also good to look forward in the gardening cycle. Agriculture is all about vision and anticipation — and also, seemingly paradoxically, requires you to stay absolutely present in this moment and accept whatever comes. This, I think, is the life lesson inherent in a seed.
I kept meaning to make some food from them. There are various recipes for squash blossoms. Apparently, they are a kind of delicacy when fried in Italy, and they were a standard part of the diet of Native Americans living in this region. But I made no squash blossom harvest. I didn’t make it a high enough priority to go and gather those golden flowers when they were still fresh in the morning. No use regretting now. That exotic taste will be for next year’s victory garden experience.