Thursday, August 20, 2015

Zucchini - The August Garden's Bounty!

The August Garden’s Bounty… ZUCCHINI !

Whether this squash develops dark green skin or pale green skin, ZUCCHINI is an interesting and delicious summer crop for the home gardener.   When harvested at four to seven inches long, the squash is tender and seeds are small—perfect for  use in a stir fry.  When harvested at seven to ten inches long, zucchini should still have soft, tender skin and can be shredded with a box grater or food processor;  drain—then use in zucchini bread recipes or in a variety of casserole dishes.

A favorite is my Zucchini Simple Sauté, which requires one fry pan, a few basic ingredients and just twenty minutes prep/cook time:

two zucchini  (pale green or dark green skin, 6” – 7” long, sliced 1/4” thin)
1/2 cup chopped onion
one tablespoon chopped garlic (3 or 4 cloves)
1/2 cup sweet yellow peppers, sliced thin
two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
two tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. Italian spice blend (can substitute a pinch of oregano and marjoram)
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Heat fry pan; pour in olive oil.  Add all items except parsley and yellow peppers, and sauté two minutes or till crisp-tender.  Stir in parsley and yellow peppers and cook one minute longer; serve hot with a side of crusty Italian bread. (serves two)

There are a few challenges to growing zucchini in a home garden—it needs some space, fertile soil, lots of sunshine, pollinators, and sufficient rain.  If plants are moisture deprived, they might abort their blossoms; squash will not develop!  Also beware of the dreaded SQUASH VINE BORER!    This larva winters over in the soil and bores into the base of the vine.  Munch, munch!  It chews its way through the vine’s interior, and entire plant can collapse in one day!   
Google on: squash vine borer for more info on how to prevent destruction from this insect.)

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture