Tag Archives: vegetables

Cucumbers and Zucchini

Cucumbers are technically a type of fruit but because they are more savory than sweet they tend to be referred to as vegetables.  They are definitely the most popular ‘vegetable’ around here – almost all the past/present children love them.  Even the really picky eaters will usually eat cucumbers.  Salad haters will often eat the bits of cucumber from a salad and leave the rest.  Cucumbers are soft compared to other raw ‘veggies’ so toddlers find them easier to eat.

Zucchini – also technically a fruit – has proved to be a difficult ‘veggie’ to get the children to eat raw.  Personally I much prefer raw zucchini over cucumbers mostly because they have a very mild flavour.  I’ve wondered if that is why the children don’t like zucchini.  When served both zucchini and cucumber slices I’ve noticed that they eat all the cucumber but all the zucchini slices are discarded after just one bite.  Were they disappointed by the (lack of) flavour?  Did they think it was a ‘bad’ cucumber?

Of course all the children love it when I bake zucchini in a loaf, muffin or brownie yet cucumber cookies failed miserably.  I wonder if the cucumber’s stronger flavour makes it less appealing in baked recipes than mild zucchini.  Some children will eat zucchini in a casserole or stir fry but many do not like any cooked veggies.  Raw is usually preferred and ‘from our own garden’ is the best 🙂

In the past we have grown both cucumbers and zucchini in our garden but they use a lot of space.  Luckily we get plenty of both in our CSA share from Wild Earth Farms.  A few weeks ago when we were having a picnic lunch I included both zucchini and cucumber slices in the raw vegetable assortment that accompanied our turkey sandwiches.  The children raved about how great the ‘yellow’ vegetable was.  I told them it was zucchini – a yellow zucchini – and watched as they devoured it all and asked for more.

I wondered if I finally had a group of children that liked zucchini or if it was just the thrill of having lunch outside that made it more appealing.  I have given them zucchini several times since then and they still love the yellow ones.  The green ones remain on the ‘dislike’ list – sometimes they get eaten reluctantly but most of the time they get discarded after the first nibble to determine if it is a cucumber or zucchini.  Apparently colour makes a difference when feeding zucchini to preschoolers.

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Our Garden Grows

The past two summers were very wet.  Plenty of rain meant we never needed to water our garden.  This year has been hot and sunny and the children are thrilled that we have had to water the garden every day. It is still very dry — we need some rain.

The prairie plants on the hill don’t seem to mind the heat and lack of water — being native to this climate they are resilient.  There is a stranger by the hill too;

Probably a weed or wildflower (same thing ?) but I like it so it stays.  Leave a comment if you know what it is.

In the garden, the spelt, triticale and wheat were planted close together and even though we have nametags in the ground we can’t really tell them apart;

The kamut was planted on the other side — I  think it is my favourite of the grains.  It is much larger than the other similar kinds.

The oats seem to be doing very well too but as one of our new type of plant we have nothing to compare it to;

The soybeans are new to us too and I wasn’t sure if they were healthy but they are just beginning to produce some ‘fruit’;

I think the swiss chard looks great! These were leftover seeds from last year when our swiss chard drowned and didn’t produce anything edible.

The broccoli has replaced the kale from past years and proves to be a favorite for the cabbage worms/butterflies;

There are many tomatoes hidden deep inside the dense foilage;

And two purple jalapeno peppers;

And even some Bolivian Rainbow peppers which we moved here from our indoor garden.  These plants were started way back in January and were the only survivors of the white fly infestation;

The corn is much shorter than last year — only about three feet tall so far — but we are hopeful;

We’ve even got some moonbeam squash starting to grow.  Last year it was late September before this happened and it was too cold to grow any more;

The cucumber plants are nearing the top of the trellis;

But the winner of the battle for garden space must go to the zucchini;

I keep cutting them back so they don’t overshadow everything else.  If all the flowers become actual zucchinis we will have hundreds of them.  Therefore I’ve been encouraging the children to eat zucchini flowers — which most of them are eager to do;