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5 Reasons to Grow Zucchini in Your Garden

Vacuum Sealer, Zucchini

If you’ve ever grown zucchini in your garden, you know it’s a fairly easy plant to grow and a prolific producer. In fact, zucchini is probably one of the most joked about vegetables specifically because of it’s prolific nature. Around August, people who have planted a couple of zucchini plants in their gardens usually have enough zucchini to pass around to their friends and neighbors, and still have plenty left over.

People have suggested, jokingly, many creative and funny uses for the extra zucchini. Some have suggested drawing faces on them and selling them as “greenie beanies” or using them in your toilet tank as water savers. Some have suggested the big zucchinis can be used as “earth friendly” baseball bats for t-ball players.

If you are wondering whether or not to plant zucchini in your garden this year here are a few reasons why you should.

#1 Reason to Grow Zucchini: It’s Easy to Grow

No plant could be easier to grow than zucchini. Two zucchini plants will produce enough zucchini for you, your family, your extended family and your neighbors. Zucchini grows well in most soils and unless your soil is exceptionally poor, there is no need for fertilization.

Plant seeds an inch deep in dirt mounds or hills. Check the packet for spacing information and make sure you have plenty of room because your zucchini plant, depending on the variety, will take up at least a 3 foot in diameter area.

Keep your zucchini seeds moist while they are germinating, but not too wet. Zucchini’s like well-drained soil. While zucchini plants might be susceptible to insects and disease, they easily overcome these threats and don’t need any special care.

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Harvest your zucchini when it is about 4 to 6 inches long and still tender. The skin will be tender enough to eat and is rich in beta-carotene. You will usually find at least one zucchini that has seemed to grow overnight to monstrous proportions. These zucchinis are still edible, but the skin will be tougher and might need to be peeled.

#2 Reason to Grow Zucchini: Participate in Zucchini Festivals

Zucchini festivals take place all over the United States each summer. Chances are, there is a zucchini festival planned this summer in a town near you. Some of the longer running zucchini festivals take place in Hayward, California, Windsor, Florida, Ludlow, Vermont and Obetz, Ohio.

Enjoy zucchini crafts, zucchini cooking and baking, zucchini carving, and even zucchini racing where racers create a “veggie-mobile” using a zucchini and other vegetables and race for bragging rights and sometimes prizes.

#3 Reason to Grow Zucchini: Bake Zucchini Bread

There are lots of great recipes which use zucchini as an ingredient, and trust me, around August, you will be searching your recipe books and on-line recipe sites to find as many as you possibly can. Zucchini bread is one of the favorite recipes using zucchini because the zucchini makes a moist and delicious quick bread.

Here is just one recipe for a great zucchini bread:

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup margarine, softened
1 cup grated zucchini
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground allspice
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp corn syrup
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

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Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour the bottom only of a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream brown sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Reserve 1 TB pineapple juice. Stir in pineapple, zucchini, and eggs. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and allspice; blend well. Fold in nuts. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or unitl toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, and then remove from pan.

To make glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, reserved pinapple juice, corn syrup and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Mix until smooth, and spoon over warm loaf. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store in refrigerator.

#4 Reason to Grow Zucchini: Zucchini Freezes Well

You don’t have to use all your zucchini before the end of the summer. Zucchini freezes well and can be saved to use in recipes any time of the year. For best freezing results, grate your zucchini and store it in 1 or 2 cup portions. Check your favorite zucchini recipes to see what amounts you use most often. For the ultimate zucchini freshness, use vacuum seal bags and a vacuum sealer like a Food Saver.

#5 Reason to Grow Zucchini: Celebrate Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day, August 8th

This lesser known holiday was created, undoubtedly, to creatively distribute abundant zucchini harvests. To “celebrate” this holiday, which happens every August 8th, wait for the darkness of night, sneak over to your neighbor’s house and leave some zucchini on their porch. Don’t ring the doorbell and run, just let them stumble over it in the morning. If you are in a particularly festive mood, leave a recipe or two along with the zucchini so at least they will have a few ideas of what to do with all that zucchini.

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