In the history of mankind, has anyone ever recorded a zucchini shortage?
My husband and I certainly have not suffered such famine. Which is odd, because in April, the seeds we bought reflected our zucchini prejudice: lettuce, spinach, green beans, and cucumbers.
Steve did not place zucchini in the same class as lima beans — he declares God never meant them to be eaten — but he dislikes zucchini, even in sweet breads welcomed by most zucchini haters.
Besides, we heard frightening tales about this squash intent on world domination. Our pastor warned the congregation to lock their cars during zucchini season, as desperate gardeners had been seen stuffing boxfuls into back seats.
What next? Would innocent citizens be forced at gunpoint to accept a minimum of two oversized zucchini per mugging?
Enough corruption existed in the world. We would never plant zucchini.
Actually, I planted nothing, because my workload doubled. My less experienced husband attacked gardening with great enthusiasm. Steve faithfully followed every jot and tittle of planting directions, identifying vegetables with empty packets.
Our garden flourished. The cucumber plants seemed bunchy, but perhaps seed companies had invented new varieties.
Soon long, green vegetables emerged from yellow blossoms. But they sported speckles instead of bumps. Slices of our firstfruits confirmed the truth: The seed packet said “cucumbers,” with the corresponding picture, but we planted zucchini.
Three hills. With several plants apiece.
I hated to break the news to my hardworking husband. Perhaps weeding made him crack, because when I did, he refused to believe. He had sown seeds from a cucumber packet, and those long, green things were cucumbers. End of discussion.
But not the end of the zucchini.
Our plants laid them daily, like eggs.
In our hour of need, I called on our grown children, waving one in their faces: “What’s this?”
Our daughter didn’t hesitate. “A zucchini.”
Our son, married to a master gardener, agreed. “Besides, those are zucchini plants, not cucumber. Zu’s are bunchy.”
The kids’ verdicts shook Steve, though he didn’t visibly back down. When I skewered zucchini chunks on beef kebobs, he said, “You’re grilling cucumbers?”
But he did check on-line, and in answer to my prayers, admitted, “You’re right.” He even learned to like zucchini grilled. We freeze them, and we’ve brainstormed about other ways to use our excess.
His favorite theory: Grow ’em big so we can market them as sports equipment.
Some consumers would have sued the seed company for this serious error. Instead, we share our blessings. As we speak, a dump truck, filled to capacity, speeds on its way to the seed company’s corporate headquarters.
And they don’t lock their driveway.