You can never have too many zucchini (really).
I wrote this as a joke today, as part of a fictional newspaper column written by the fictional market gardener, Broccoli Bill, desperate to sell his all too prolific crop. But as he began to give increasingly valiant ways to use zucchini, I realised he was right.
You never can have too many zucchini. You may lack time to do anything with them; your friends may duck around the corner when they see you arriving with yet another box full, but that is the fault of modern society which doesn't give us enough time to deal with zucchini, not with this most generous of veg.
This is the time when life begins to get hectic again, just as zucchini are at their most prolific. It is easy to take this for granted and forget how much you will long for a basket of zucchini in late autumn, especially perhaps those firm-fleshed round ones you can't buy in supermarkets, or the little finger-length, crisp ones to eat raw with anchovy sauce or pesto. I love them shredded and eaten like pasta with sauce – don't cook them, or they turn soggy. The heat of the sauce is all they need.
Your zucchini bushes are vigorous and prolific and disease resistant. The older they get, the more disease prone they become, which is one reason zucchini may get powdery or downy mildew – they lack resistance to it/them, as well as the recent wet, dry, hot, cold, blazing hot and dry again weather, which is just what mildew adores. That, and the leaves of elderly zucchini bushes.
So plant new bushes now. I promise that (almost certainly) by autumn the bushes you planted in spring will be either not producing, or sitting on a massive marrow that you somehow missed lurking under the leaves. The vigorous new bushes will be more frost resistant too.
This is also the time to plant more of all those summer veg that you hope will produce for at least six months, but actually succumb to blights and mildews. Cherry tomatoes planted now may fruit into winter; beans will give you a bounteous crop in autumn. If your silver beet have turned all spotty DON'T plant more, but pick every single leaf then feed well and hope – the new leaves should be blemish free and vigorous.
And if you plant artichokes now and treat them extremely well, they may even give you artichokes next spring.
But back to the zucchini … compost-fed ones really are more disease and frost resistant – I trialled them for three years, many years ago with different feeding regimes. Compost won on every count.
And never take your zucchini for granted just because they are easy to grow. The tiny crisp ones are a delight. Just imagine eating them with pesto or grilled till just browning on each side or sautéed in a little olive oil with a dash of lemon juice and black pepper or made into potato cakes except with zucchini or zucchini gingerbread or yellow zucchini pickles … and all you need is an absolute plenitude of firm, just-picked zucchinis to achieve any of these summer delights.
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