Zucchini’s are not my fave in the garden.  We don’t LOVE to eat them, and the plant takes up so much space! We always plant at least one, because they are fun to watch grow, and it’s the plant where my kids first learned to garden:

This picture was pulled straight out of my over-filtered Instagram phase, but hopefully in this grainy mess you can see the little princess sitting on the wall, singing to her zukes.
This.

This memory is why I have a zucchini plant in every garden.  She probably doesn’t even remember it, but whatever.

I couldn’t find the follow up picture, which includes the kids sitting with an abundance of zucchinis that were about the size of my lower leg.  We had no idea when they were supposed to be picked, and we just thought more seemed like fun.

Ew.

Don’t do that friends.  Hold back these guys, or you’ll end up with all seeds and skin.

We’ve learned to twist or cut them off when they are small and tender, but sometimes they are hard to find among the jungle.  Zucchini leaves get so big and prickly – they aren’t fun to harvest.

This year, I’m trying something new – apparently our friends across the pond always grow their zucchini this way … held back with a tie!

Have you ever done this?  I’m quite excited because when I tied mine back last night, all of the budding flowers found their way to the bottom and poked their pretty little heads out.  How easy will it be to pick now???

Obviously you don’t want to tie them too tightly – the leaves are an important part of the plant. That said, leaves growing BELOW the flower can actually be cut off. Use clean, sharp shears and cut them close to the base of the plant.  They are hollow and easy to cut. Leaving them in place won’t necessarily hurt the plant, but they could rot out if  water sits on them, and every part of the plant is pulling nutrients. Why keep them there if they aren’t giving you more fruit?

Speaking of trimming things back, this process is truly a reflective lesson in life. Trim back the branches that aren’t giving you LIFE. We all have those frienemies that suck the life out of us … WHY do we keep these things in our garden?

Pinning those people to a stake like a zucchini plant is not legal, but holding them back away from your inner circle is, so listen to the zucchini and let his needs become your needs.

Apparently, I need the zucchini in the garden more than I first thought.