Monday, July 13, 2009

Monster Zucchini

Skippy's vegetable garden is showing her first zucchini.

I remember way back when when I was asking Maybelline tips for how to grow my own zucchini (she is in Bakersfield and it just seems like food leaps out of the ground onto your plate from her garden . . . she already has so many tomatoes she had to start canning!)

I have my first zucchini, too!

WHOA! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? it's over a foot long.

Well, it started with the beautiful zucchini squash blossoms. Some people like to fry them up and eat them. It's kind of a pain in the butt so I haven't done that yet. There are a million of them, though, so if i was inclined, i could. Actually it's the most copious thing in the garden.

There are two kinds of squash blossoms, female and male. I posted about this previously, but it bears repeating, especially now that I have so much photographic illustrative evidence. The way you can tell the difference is: the male flowers are on top of skinny long stems, and the female flowers are on top of, well - nubs that are attached to the base of the plant, which will one day, if fertilized, turn into a zucchini.

Who does the fertilizing? Bees, and other insects, i guess. That's why if you are going to eat squash blossoms you need to check inside for bugs.

So, these are all male flowers.
You can tell by their long skinny stems.

And here is a female flower.

You can tell because it is attached to a nub that is close to the base of a plant. Know what that nub is?

It's a zucchini! I was as surprised as you. The flower on the top falls off and it just keeps growing and growing.

It becomes something like this:
Is this not crazy? nature is weird and very cool.

Now, what would happen to female flowers when they are not fertilized? Unfortunately, the nub just withers up and never becomes a zucchini - a wasted chance for the plant to produce a valuable vegetable. Sometimes it takes days for the flower to fall off. It's pretty sad, too. Especially when you are waiting and waiting for your plant to produce another zucchini and you have six or seven male flowers, waiting to fertilize another female flower.

Like this. Argh. Why won't you grow? It's all limp and flexible, and then a day or two after this photo, it was completely withered and dried out.

Well, anyway, this zucchini just kept growing and growing

ANd i didn't really know what I should do - pick it at a certain size, or what? Also, i didn't know how to pick it, which is a stupid question, really, but it's true.

Then one day we came out and this monster was just laying on the ground. It was so huge and heavy it made my husband feel inadequate just looking at it. It probably doesn't even taste good. I HAD to pick it, so i just lifted it up and lightly twisted the base, and it came right off.

Can't wait to grill this sucker up and use it with the leftover grilled corn and steak on some tostadas!


Chris said...

Seriously cool. Love your blog. Let me know if you try the blossoms and how they turn out.


SCORE! Congratulations on your success. I hope you don't regret it and have many people to share your bounty. I made loads of zucchini cakes, bread, and muffins for the freezer. Stay away from frying. It's a huge mess.