Sow there! – Big garden chores for cool days of September, Sept. 16, 2016

Many of the important things in life are done in quick bursts, followed by long periods of periodic maintenance.

Examples include:

• Finding a relationship.

• Searching for a job.

• Building a raised garden bed.

• Cleaning out the refrigerator.

Achieving those first results requires a huge effort or a lot of money. Yet, we enjoy the benefits for years to come. More examples include major home improvements, earning a college degree and liposuction.

Good garden weather

The past two weekends have been perfect for working in the yard. One Sunday I started in the morning before I had combed my hair, then realized it was noon and I had dirt all over my pajamas.

When I look around my yard I see several projects that required many hours of work. Mixing sand and soil for my wheelbarrow cactus garden was a big pain. However, all I need to do now is brush away a few leaves.

This week we planted star jasmine along the ratty metal fence. If all goes well, a privacy hedge will grow, overflowing with fragrant flowers and glossy leaves.

Twenty years ago I helped plant a needle-nosed ivy along an ugly concrete wall. Now I see a wall covered in green.

I could keep going with examples, but you get the point. While the weather is nice, why not do a big garden project? The rewards will continue for years.

Words on ornamentals

All summer I have resented the fact that we are growing eggplant. My boyfriend claims that he loves the purple fruit, yet it hangs there, untouched, sad, faded and now limp.

I don’t like eggplant unless it’s slathered in sauce and cheese or served as a sushi taco at Izakaya Ichiban.

To try to solve the eggplant excess problem, I’ve been exceedingly nice.

Could I add eggplant to his half of the veggie stir fry?

No thanks, my boyfriend said.

How about some fried eggplant with eggs?


I must have taken a happy pill the day I offered to try using sliced eggplant instead of lasagne noodles.

He said he didn’t want to heat up the house by turning on the oven.

My new strategy is to consider eggplant as an ornamental plant.

If that’s the case, I can harvest the beautiful fruit and give them to a third-grade teacher for craft projects. One clever mom with a website,, uses buttons and flat thumbtacks for eggplant faces. Many foods can be carved into disposable ink stamps. Dried eggplant-head dolls?

Judging from Pinterest, I could be a pioneer in eggplant crafts, because my search turned up very little of interest.

More vegetable news

Several weeks ago I contacted Bob Scoville, my go-to source at Glenn County Master Gardeners. He helped with some tips on how to fertilize squash by hand. I know this topic is a jarring departure from eggplant, but squash is actually an interesting topic.

Bob also forwarded a fact sheet about the history of squash.

We all think of zucchini, for example, as an Italian fruit. However, squash comes from the Americas.

Seeds and other squash parts dating back 8,000 years have been found in Mexican caves.

American Indians shared squash with European settlers, the pamphlet states. The Europeans brought seeds back to their countries and helped make new versions. That’s where “zucchini” comes along. In the late 1800s a new type of squash was bred in Milan, and later brought back to the United States in the 1920s.

Zucca is the Italian word for squash and zucchina means little squash.

The University of California pamphlet gives zero information on how to use zucchini in third-grade crafts.

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