So, what do you get when a pumpkin cuddles up to a zuccini (or a yellow crook-neck, I'm afraid my pumpkin was a teensy bit slutty last summer) and lets nature (and Marvin Gaye) take its course? You get a plant that starts out looking like a zuccini and then begins growing legs, then arms, then second heads -- lime green second heads that appear within hours, swelling almost visibly, as snaky tendril arms begin sweeping in the plants to be devoured with audible gulps. It's a bit unnerving. We've created a monster. Our mutant baby is paying us back by smothering all it's tomato baby brothers and pepper little sisters. The problem is that the lime green growths are just so damn good. Pumpkin-scented zuccini flesh, sweet and mild. Cooks up beautifully. Too bad we're not sure who the father is.
We didn't do this on purpose. We special-ordered organic heirloom squash, tomato, and pepper seeds. We carefully nurtured the seedlings all spring, dreaming of the organic, heirloom babyfood these seedlings were going to become. Then when we went out to till the garden: "Oh look, a volunteer squash plant of some sort. How cute! Let's till it under!" Ah, but this little mutant (oh, excuse me, HYBRID) is clever. It just happened to be growing around the one tree root cutting through our garden plot. So it was spared, and we planted in the soft, fertile soil around it. And all our precious plants immediately died. Coincidence? I'm not convinced. We were so depressed about the carnage that we didn't have the heart to pull up the one plant that was thriving even though we'd heard about the dangers of cross-pollination. We replanted in a spirit of harmony with the native inhabitant. For a while all was peaceful. The newcomers began to thrive. Then the hostile take-over began.
I'm torn. We paid a lot for the plants that Mutant Squash is determinedly eating. But at least something is producing in my garden this year. Maybe Mutant Squash will be sated after a few sacrifices, a couple of days of pushing the other plants around (yes, all the agression has happened only these last few days) showing them who's boss. Maybe not.