In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
August, 2013
Regional Report

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Both zucchini flowers and fruits are edible.

Zucchini: The Garden Wonder

While it's wonderful to see how much one plant can produce, especially if it's growing in good soil with plenty of compost and/or aged horse manure, by this time of the summer, zucchinis are often piling up in the fridge and you're wondering who you haven't yet loaded down with armloads as gifts. Here are few ideas to help you keep enjoying your bounty.

Harvesting Your Zukes
Pick zucchini every other day, cutting them loose with a long sharp knife. It's important to keep up with them or they will get out of control. They'll taste best when they're picked at about 5 inches long with the blossom still attached -- tiny zucchinis are undeniably gourmet fare -- and the harvest stays manageable ... for a while.

Stuffing the Zukes
When you miss one lurking under the leaves, it can attain a monstrous size seemingly overnight. Within days becomes an oven stuffer roaster. Those taste good too, stuffed with fresh tomatoes and garlic and onion and maybe a little cheese and some bread crumbs. Meanwhile, wonder of wonders, still more keep coming!

Slowing Down the Zukes
Here are some hints for using up that endless parade of zucchini when family and friends and neighbors alike shudder at the thought of another one. First, the blossoms are edible - so you can just nip those suckers in the bud, literally. You reduce the production of zucchinis by picking the flowers, and they taste great sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

Next, remember the secret side benefit to allowing a single squash to grow into a baseball bat: it slows down the plant. Another alternative is to donate extra squash to the local food bank. Call them first though, to see if and when they accept fresh produce, since it is perishable and thus needs special handling that they may not be set up to provide.

If all else fails, there is always the compost heap. There it will feed your soil. And then you will be all set to grow more wonderful zucchini again next year. See how that works?


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