Two-Foot Long Garden Mistakes?

We've all made some garden mistakes in our time, but most of them probably didn't turn out this tasty.

I don’t know any gardener who hasn’t made at least a few good garden mistakes. Sometimes we get lucky and those mistakes turn into fun stories or good lessons. In fact, we have quite a few of those stories here in GreenPrints.

For example, you might think it would be okay to throw your bad tomatoes into the chicken coop so your chickens could enjoy them. It turns out, at least for one gardener, that was a really bad idea.

Or perhaps you’ve decided that the best way to keep slugs away from your garden is to pour salt on them, only every slug in the neighborhood comes after you for revenge. That would certainly be one of the garden mistakes you could share around the campfire!

For Chuck Sjodin, however, his mistake turned out to be one of the tastiest garden mistakes ever. In fact, it was such a good mistake that he repeats it year after year. If you’ve grown zucchini, you might have some idea where A REALLY Big Zucchini Story is going.

In Chuck’s first attempt at growing zucchini, he didn’t yet understand what zucchini growers around the world know: zucchini is the gift that keeps on giving. And keeps on giving. And keeps on giving.

Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to grow zucchini to appreciate this story of someone growing a LOT of zucchini!

Garden Mistakes, Mishaps, and Maladies? We’ve Got The Stories Here in GreenPrints.

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years, and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn stories of gardening mishaps and mistakes into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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A REALLY Big Zucchini Story

By Chuck Sjodin

I dropped out of college when I was 20 and moved into my folks’ rural cabin here in Minnesota. Recently I had eaten zucchini with some friends—and wondered why we’d never had anything this good at home.

I decided to grow my own. Dad had an old Moline tractor, plow, and disc at the place, so I went to work tearing up some ground for a garden. My plot was maybe 50 by 150 feet—manageable, right? I knew that, among other things, I wanted to grow some of those wonderful zucchinis. So I bought seeds and planted three rows of hills.

That’s right: three 50-foot rows of zucchinis!

And—oh—I lived alone!

Well, they were kind of cute when they first started growing. But, of course, they soon grew way out of control. No problem, I had a ’53 GMC pickup truck. I just filled the bed with a load of two-foot zucchinis and drove into town to give them to all my friends!

It’s now 38 years later and, in spite of all that, I still grow zucchinis. But I sure don’t let them get as big anymore. I don’t even leave my zucchini plants alone for a weekend!

By Chuck Sjodin, published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #110. Illustrated by Marilynne Roach

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Do you have any mistakes in your gardening history that turned out to be delicious? I’d love to read about them in the comments. 


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