Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Zucchini Chronicles, Part 1: Sex and the Single Zucchini

Catch of the Day

Here at Voss Gardens we grow only one type of summer squash, the best - Zucchini Romanesco. It thrives in our soil and growing conditions. I get my Zucchino Romanesco seed from an Italian company, Franchi Sementi, a seed sourcer since 1783. ( This variety, recognized by its grey green color and heavy ribs with light green specks, is far superior for its distinctive nutty taste and yeild. For best flavor we pick them smallish, 4-6 inches.

The first year I gardened here my zucchinis were not bearing fruit, I had a glut of male flowers. "Mmmmm, these plants need more sex!" my gut level said. Being the new kid on the block, the bees hadn't put my turf on their radar yet. Just starting out, I had nothing to attract them. Duh, zucchinis need bees for pollination. Duh, no flowers no bees, duh, plant more flowers.

Now, to stay in the bee loop, I make sure something is always flowering in the garden. Letting some vegetable plants go to flower and seed is an easy way to attract the bees and save seed too!  And they're so purdy.

Over the years I've watched the Romanesco plants produce a flood of male flowers before the females kick in and bring on the avalanche of zucchini daze. Its early in the season, and given the abundance of male flowers out there right now a little zucchini sex education is in order. The blossoms are so lovely to look at and eat, and recipes will follow. But now is the time for  the bees to get it on, while we watch and wait.

The male flowers have a phallic looking inside.
 Males can be identified
by the straight erect stem.

The insides of the female
flowers look like eggs.
Females can be identified by their fruits.

The bees are busy getting down to business.
Soon the floodgates will open and zucchinis will rain down.

Ladies and Gentlemen - Be Advised: Lock your car doors during zucchini season.

 Stay tuned for more Zucchini Chronicles!
Part 2: Gluten Free Stuffed Squash Blossoms.
Part 3: My famous Beer Battered Squash Blossoms Recipe
Part 4: Hot Zucchini Nights and National Zucchini Day. 

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