Back in the spring when the garden was still mostly an idea and good intentions, seeds, pots and a good quality seed raising mix were gathered together.  Some seeds were so tiny that eager little hands were directed towards seeds that were much easier to handle.  In their enthusiasm one after another were plunged into the cool damp soil until the whole packet was sown.

The wonder on small faces as the miracle of green shoots appeared above the brown surface and counted out daily as the numbers increased.  … 7 … 8 … 9 … 10.  We have ten seedlings, Hooray!  A quick check of the packet, found glued to a delightful collage attached to the fridge by a smiley face magnet, suggests a planting distance of almost a square metre each.  To plant them all out would mean no room for anything else in the veggie patch, and the swing set would have to go.  And possibly the trampoline.  No this won’t do.

A couple are gifted to grandparents, a few to kindy and one to the nice lady down the road who always stops and smiles a supportive, conspiratorial smile while you try your best to ignore a tantrum in the street.  Your best friend takes two to appease a proud child bearing gifts and you hope in earnest she won’t have to reveal its progress throughout the season as you know she is a plant killer from way back.  And so you are left with three.  That should be enough.

But as the growth becomes less obvious on a daily basis and more exciting things catch the eye, like the sparkly shininess of Christmas, the zucchini plants sit in the garden stealthily taking up more and more space until one day there is a huge beautiful flower, and another and another.  Before long the first zucchini appears and it is lovingly prepared and served on a plate.  “Honey look what you grew!”

Now zucchinis aren’t really all that big on flavour and so after all the anticipation, the delicate flavour is lost on tender young palates that prefer the strong sweet flavour burst delivered from candy.  “I don’t like it – it’s yucky.”

Uses for zucchini

We have a problem.  The garden is exploding one after another with zucchini like popcorn in a pot with no lid.  It was hard enough to give the seedlings away and now all our nearest and dearest have their own glut issues… except maybe your best friend, but she is on to you and doesn’t always return your calls.

Uses for zucchini

This calls for creativity:

·       “No Honey it isn’t zucchini again, it’s a courgette.  You’ll like courgette.”

·       If I grate it finely they will never spot it.

·       If I peel it and grate it finely, they will never spot it.

·       Sliced and frozen for the winter

·       Zucchini pickle

·       Cooking it in butter and bacon – everything tastes good in butter and bacon.

·       Chocolate Zucchini bread – a fabulous hiding place

·       Zucchini relish

·       Creating a sense of ownership by scratching names into tiny zucchini and watching it stretch as the zucchini slips in to the marrow category.

·       Marrow rings stuffed with meatloaf mix and cover in cheese

·       Fritters

·       Savoury muffins

·       Zucchini chips, although they never seem as crisp as the ones look like in the picture.

·       A road side stall – $1 a bag

·       A road side stall with a “free – please take” sign

·       Jack –o –lantern style carving

·       Making stamp sets to paint with.

·       Tossing zucchini through the hoops hanging from the tree

·       Not allowing visitors to leave unless they take at least two.

·       Zucchini dolls

·       Compost via the veggie drawer in the bottom of the fridge for at least a week

·       Directly to the compost, without even going indoors

And then with a sigh of relief the plant gives in to powdery mildew and after the last zucchini thrown out in the midst of a slow death scene, there are no more.  The nightmare ends….  Until next year.

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Sarah O’Neil lives on a small 3 acre lifestyle block. The family moved from the big city to the country in 2007. Sarah has published 3 books, including The Good Life, four glorious seasons in my country garden. She's also an award-winning blogger, winning a Yates Vegie Growing Challenge and still writes regularly. Visit Sarah’s website at sarahthegardener.co.nz.

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JanM

Oh, but sadly I AM really good at this one too: “Compost via the veggie drawer in the bottom of the fridge for at least a week”

Rochelle Gribble

Ooo me too!

JanM

My latest yum with zucchini (come marrow, really) is to use a vegie peeler and peel long ways so it looks like pasta. Fry some garlic and onion and bacon (maybe some chillies cos we love that taste) and toss through the zucchini pasta with a pasta sauce and voila! It really is delish. (Add some real pasta for extra nice)

Rochelle Gribble

Yum!! That sounds delicious! I’ve just picked my first zucchini of the season… mmm!

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