Since Mr. and Mrs. Zucchini Blossom started keeping monoecious Zucchini House together, I've been waiting patiently for some Junior zucchinis to liven up the garden--and my kitchen--with their presence. With two sexes occupying the same plant, you would think that their getting together for some lovin' in the morning wouldn't be a problem. They should already have a busload of Juniors by my reckoning. I admit to salivating at the thought of those tender, young zucchinis I would grate to make zucchini cake and bread or steam to serve with herbed butter or slice to add to my favorite lasagna recipe. The bees fly about early in the morning, adding their sweet buzz to a chorus of birdsong, and filling up their pollen baskets at the large, attractive Mr. Zucchini Blossom to share with diminutive Mrs. Zucchini Blossom. Wait a minute, though! Either Mr. ZB said something to Mrs. ZB last night to get her torqued, or the thought of having Juniors these days is too much for her to bear. What with rising healthcare costs and tuition expenses, not to mention purchasing a new school wardrobe and classroom supplies every year--Mrs. ZB isn't being at all receptive to Mr. ZB's pollen. She has her career to think about, you see. She's photogenic and doesn't want her shapely form to be marred by the weight of those developing youngsters, especially if someone's not around to regularly take them off her hands... Okay, the truth of the matter is that I'm stumped by this conundrum.
When I gardened in the Midwest, I could count on my summer squash plants to produce a bumper crop. I looked forward to it. Why then, should my Florida garden be any less fruitful? The state is number one in summer squash production, so where are those tender zucchini I'm waiting for?
I don't have a problem growing plums in Florida...
...or blueberries. And these trees and shrubs are still young. Mrs. ZB, on the other hand, has a biological clock that's running down in a hurry. Only a few weeks remain before her chances at motherhood are history. I guess I'm going to have to intervene in this fruitless-so-far-hermaphrodite-zucchini love story. It won't be easy, considering the distance between me and my garden. I'd ask our renter to take the drastic measure, but I think she's a little squeamish about undressing zucchini blossoms and dusting stigmas. Next visit home, if those Juniors aren't already taking over Zucchini House, I'll be playing bee. It's no great leap from being occasionally referred to (under someone's breath) as a "B--," so it shouldn't be too much trouble. Here are some great directions published by UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to help me get started. If Shakespeare didn't mind encouraging the generation of some offspring, then neither do I.
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another,
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live remembered not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
Just a little extra note here: I should have put a link to Chandramouli's site to thank him for the inspiration for this post. He's a wonderful storyteller and lets his imagination transform mundane into sublime.