Farmfront Board Member

Stevi Stewart





Behold the Squash Beast

Chicken Litter is really good fertilizer. Possibly too good.

This update may mean the most for those of you who have been following my journey into a new hobby of gardening. My first entry came about back in May with an update in June. At this point, you have gotten to see the transformation of a piece of my yard turn into my own little produce stand! When I last left you, I had been transplanting my seedlings. There’s was working on keeping weeds away and—wow—so much has happened since then.

To touch back on the addition of chicken litter to my soil, it seems to have worked but almost entirely too well. I have learned a lesson in making sure my plants have plenty of distance between them. At this point, my tomatoes are shrubs, and my yellow squash have a mind of their own! I have had to add additional stakes to all these plants. They are so big, they just want to topple over at the first sign of a small breeze.


Zucchini come in 8-balls Moment

So far, I have had the enjoyment of being able to harvest several yellow squashes. While I am enjoying as many fresh as I can, I have also been slicing, blanching and freezing them for later days. Jalapeños can also be frozen whole apparently. They must be cleaned and dry though before putting into bags! I have also gotten to try my hand at some quick refrigerator pickles, as well as jalapeños.

One oddity comes from the zucchini seeds I planted.  I had originally expected them to be like any other zucchini. When they started really growing though, I noticed something was amiss. These zucchini plants were taking over my garden, in yards worth of vines. For weeks, this plant continued to grow and blossom, but nothing ever came from the flowers. Finally, one day something began to develop that looked like a golf ball. It quickly turned into a large green softball looking vegetable. I am not sure if something was incorrect in my seed packet. Another mishap might have occurred. Now it is noticeably clear both of my zucchini plants are of the 8-ball variety.

The 8-ball Zucchini
Bushy Tomatoes


One technique I tried, sent to me via Pinterest by a friend of mine. Pinterest showed using a tomato cage to help your squash grow more upright. I thought this sounded like an amazing idea, and quickly put it into action. Little did I know how much difficulty this would come with. The squash I picked or this experiment, has turned into a squash producing machine. In fact, it has continued to produce so many tiny squashes I routinely must pick several off. That way it can spend its energy on helping the larger one’s finish developing.

My tomatoes plants, which I described earlier as shrubs, are now completely laden with green tomatoes. I do believe I should have taken care earlier in the season to “sucker” my plants. This would have prevented them from becoming the monstrosities they now are. Suckering tomatoes means you pinch off small branches early in their development. This makes the plant less bushy overall. While I am still patiently waiting to make my homemade salsa, fried green tomatoes may just have to do for a little while.

As my gardening story is now ending, I am so pleased that I decided to take this dive and create a new hobby for myself.  I may be convinced I will never be able to grow strawberries. They have not bloomed in months, and I have given up hope besides keeping them watered. However, I have been able to bribe other friends into adopting my seedlings and become amateur gardeners with me.


If you think you and a friend could both be on board, I totally recommend it.  Nothing says millennial more than sending your friends pictures of your plants to show their new progress, right?


Happy gardening friends!




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1 thought on “Garden Diaries: Stephanie Stewart, Part 3

  1. Excellent gardening tips! Pictures from your garden are amazing!

    Are the zucchini plants that are producing softball squash an actual type of squash or could your plants be cross pollinating with other plants in the garden?

    Just a question from a non gardener!

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