Monday, July 9, 2012

The Zucchini Wars

If you're a gardener in the South or have ever lived near or gone to church with a Southern gardener, then you know about the zucchini wars.

If you don't, here it is. We plant a few of these seeds in our garden each year, watch as the plants grow huge, then big yellow blossoms appear. All of a sudden, they start bearing tons of fruit, sometimes 6 or 8 huge zucchinis per plant. Of course, they all ripen at once and the same goes for every other zucchini plant within miles.

It gets baked, fried, shredded up into breads and muffins, hollowed out and filled with meat and tomato sauce and cheese, and used as a replacement for noodles in lasagna. Still, there's only so much squash a person can eat, so the "wars" begin.

Churches are notorious for them. Arrive early and leave your windows down, your doors unlocked, or the bed of your truck uncovered, and you'll probably find a grocery bag full of long green squash waiting for you after services. It happens in neighborhoods, too.  If your neighbor gardens, then watch out! You may return home from work or walk out the door on a Saturday morning to discover "gifted" zucchinis propped up against your door or waiting in your favorite rocking chair. They can even find their ways into mailboxes and newspaper boxes, and occasionally even bicycle baskets.

And that's only the anonymous gifting. The more covert stage of the zucchini wars involved baked goods. Many a person has fallen victim to this by accepting an offer of zucchini bread or muffins. From there, it's a quick downfall as word gets out that you like them and you're offered even more.

There's no way to beat them and no polite way to win, so you might as well start liking veggies hidden in your breads and cake, till up a patch of ground, and head off the offers next year by growing your own.

If you need me, I'll be in the garden or in the kitchen, buried in squash. The truly disturbing part - I have twice as many butternut squash plants as zucchinis this year and it looks like they'll be ready to harvest in a few weeks.
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