To Kill, or Not to Kill

After years of not being able to find the time, I finally planted a vegetable garden this year. I’ve had a vegetable garden before at this house. Actually, it was a rather large one, with a large variety of peppers, tomatoes, corn, beans, squashes, root vegetables… But alas, I had placed it in a terrible area of my yard. While the plants all thrived, it was difficult to get around it to do anything else in the very large yard. So, back to grass it went, and I spent several years thinking about a better placement.

This year I decided to bite the bullet and give the garden another go. Since I’m uncertain about my future, and how the plants would do in the new area of the yard, I decided to start small.

I started planning early in the year, ordering seed catalogs, settling on the varieties I would grow. I timed planting the seeds indoors to properly be able to transplant them. And then, it rained. And rained. And stayed cold. And rained.

I expected it to rain most of the Spring. It usually does. But I wasn’t expecting it to stay so cold! The rain kept my plants from getting enough light in my one sunny window, and the cold weather and rain prevented me from moving them out doors. Most of my plants ended up dying long before I could plant them.

In the end, I decided that was okay. I nursed the ones I could back to health once the weather cleared, sowed a few seeds directly into the dirt, and made do with an even smaller garden than I originally planned. When I selected my seeds, I tried to stick with things I knew we would eat: Tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and spaghetti squash.

Ah, the spaghetti squash. I love spaghetti squash, and luckily, it’s fairly easy to grow in my area. You just have to watch that it doesn’t get out of hand, and strangle the rest of your plants. I’ve always grown vegetable spaghetti squash, which is what you typically find at the grocery store, but this year I was super stoked to find there was another type of spaghetti squash! Vermicelli spaghetti squash was boasted as being similar to vegetable, with shorter “noodles”. How could I not try it?

Only 2 spaghetti squash starts survived to planting; One vegetable and one of the new vermicelli. The vegetable one got off to a rough start, looking sickly and thin, and slowly spreading out in one long, winding growth. The vermicelli however instantly took to being outdoors. It shot up with big, beautiful, bushy leaves, and quickly started producing big, beautiful squash.

I was super excited when the first squash was ready to be picked. The BF had only eaten spaghetti squash once, when we bought one from the grocery the year prior. I was so proud of what I’d grown, and couldn’t wait to eat it. And… It sucked! Months of planning, weeks of hard work, weeks of waiting, and hours of baking, only to end up with clumpy pieces of weird tasting squash, instead of the threads of “spaghetti” that I was used to enjoying.

Like most people, I assumed I’d done something wrong. Maybe I picked it too soon? Maybe I didn’t cook it right? Maybe it was too moist? So, we waited, and tried again with the next. This one was so bad I wouldn’t even eat it. And, unfortunately, that one darn plant seemed to be bountiful! What the heck was I going to do with it?!?! I talked to my mom, but they didn’t want any. I gave two big squashes to my sister. She had the same reaction as I did. I kept asking around, and no one seemed to want any of my lovely (and gross) squashes!

I watched as the big, beautiful plant started to take over my garden. It knocked over the tomatoes. It shadowed the peppers. It covered the lovely path I’d made of cocoa shell mulch. A giant plant, with new starts forming every day. I’d loved that plant. I’d put so much time and effort into it. And finally, I killed it.

The BF laughs that I had such a hard time finally cutting the plant down. But really, I had a terrible time finding the heart to kill it! I’d put so much effort into it! But then I realized; What about the tomatoes? And peppers? And green beans? And the other spaghetti squash, that I actually would enjoy eating? Didn’t I put a lot of time, and effort, and love into growing them? Why was I letting a plant that I didn’t even like risk their lives and productivity?

So, the vermicelli spaghetti squash is no more, and will never be again in my garden. And it got me to thinking: Are there other areas of my life where I’m putting effort and hanging on to things that are no longer useful? Am I wasting resources that could be diverted elsewhere? I know I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past; For placing too much emphasis on the sunk costs, or sunk efforts. The time, energy, love or money that I’ve put into something. Things that I would never be able to get back. And yet, sometimes it’s so hard to let go!

Are there things that you’ve wasted resources on, when you know you should move on? What’s your spaghetti squash?

– Cindy W.



  1. […] did mention spaghetti squash in two of my very early posts (here and here). And I do love growing spaghetti squash. We have three plants that are going crazy this year, […]

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