Easy and Very Edible


Zucchini is the perfect vegetable. It is easy to grow. It’s easy to find at the end of the alphabetical seed catalogues. It produces abundantly. It can be cooked and eaten in any number of ways.

What Good Is It? By itself, it can be politely described as, inoffensive. You can take that to mean that it is rather tasteless. This feature usually means that even the vegetable haters will eat it. If you cook it lightly or not at all and don’t peel it, then there are the usual list of vitamins etc. that it contains. Most of the home garden varieties are a bit bland but if you grow the Romanesco variety you will discover a much better taste and texture.

zucchini plant How Big? The biggest mistake that new gardeners make with Zucchini is to let the fruit become too large. 6"- 8" long with the wilting flower still attached is the perfect size. I know the local fall fair has a prize for the biggest Zucchini but winning that prize is about all that it is good for. I did use to break them into pieces and feed them to the chickens and they seemed happy enough to get them; although I could never seem to develop a market for “zucchini fed chickens.” You can also hollow out the seedy centre and then stuff them and bake them. Some of the the plants tend to be as prolific as the fruit and can rapidly occupy a significant portion of the garden.

Papaya pear Different Varieties? My favourite Romanesco (picture at top,) is a very robust grower and you might want to avoid it, if space is a problem. There are several more compact forms and a variety of colours and shapes to choose from. There are a range of other summer squash types that are as good or better then Zucchini for providing lots of summer and fall eating. Papaya Pear (picture left,) is a dark orange pear shaped squash that I happily give some of the Zucchini’s space to.

How Do I Grow Them? They will grow and fruit quite happily if you put the seed directly into the garden when the soil is warm. I like to start them in little pots in the cold frame 3 - 4 weeks before planting time so that I have an even greater abundance of fruit by mid-August. As with most rapid growing vine type plants, the Zucchini is a quite hearty eater and needs generous portions of compost or some commercial fertilizer. I have had some success with training these plants up a pole or into a tomato cage in an attempt to reduce the space they take up. There are whole books written on Zucchini recipes and I have no intention of duplicating them. As usual I will give you my quick and easy recipe and something a bit more complicated.

These rapid and reliable plants make great additions to children’s garden. Easy to do. Rapid and enjoyable results.

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