Friday 20 October 2023

Scar tissue

Note for furriners: courgette is zucchini is calabacín is κολοκυθάκιCucurbita pepo 

If were proper scientists, rather than woo-wits gardeners and courgette fryers, we'd keep records of what-all we take from garden to kitchen. But we aren't and so we don't. It was therefore up to me to carry out a forensic post-mortem on the courgette stalks after we grubbed them up [as Lwth secateurs for scale] at the end of the 2023 season. Counting the harvest is not (solely) obsessive behaviour: it helps to plan for subsequent years. Nobody wants to be part of the annual August courgette glut when  you cannot give them away; but having one a week as a special treat is not ideal either.

On 12 Oct 23, we grubbed up all 5 of the courgette plants because a) the leaves were dusting with white fungus b) many of the courgettes which were still coming rapidly developed a squishy distal end before they were big enough to eat. Anyone who's ever grown courgettes knows that sinking feeling when, two days after a  comprehensive harvest, a full-grown marrow the size of a child's leg is discovered under a big leaf. The ideal is to have a handy couple of courgettes every day through the Summer. 

  • Sliced, fried in butter and olive oil with a bit or bread and more butter makes a fine lunch
  • Grated into a paste of spiced besan = gram-flour and water; and fried
  • Courgette fritters: with eggs, feta cheese, flour, chopped scallions, dill, parsley
  • Substituted for carrots in any recipe for carrot cake.
  • Sliced thin, served raw in a green salad

The flowers, and later the courgette, sprout from the axil of [most of] the leaves along the stalk of the growing plant. At some stage sensible people start trimming off the bigger leaves because they are attracting mould . . . and hiding those monster marrows. For forensic inventory I sat down and counted  30 + 11 + 47 + 24 +17 = 129 ± 2 from the five plants which survived to adulthood. I think we lost a couple to slugs or cut-worm when they were small. That is, and has been, about right for 3 people over the Summer: about 1-a-day since 01 Jul 23.

Did I mention 3 people? The only reason we have any courgettes this year is because Dau.II took ownership of the polytunnel and the out-door veg-beds this Spring. Starting some plants from seed, buying some plants and being gifted others. 2022, Spring planting was on me and it was an unaccountable disaster: nothing sprouted, fungus sprouted everywhere and it was highly disheartening. I have minimal resilience about such things and resolved to rely on ALDIDL for my veg. Having someone else to move things along in 2023 was just grrrrreat.

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