Sitting inside the news room yesterday at the local paper, a call came in to report a “huge sighting.” At first, it startled several of the reporters and still others chuckled at the prospect of an alien sighting locally but after no one appeared interested in following the lead – the Editor handed it to me with a note that read, “Check out this 6 ft. zucchini.”
Awhile back, I recalled hearing about a squash or a marrow that set a world record in England. You can see it here. The marrow weighed in at over 100 lbs. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever envisioned a 6 ft. zucchini.
Since it was a beautiful autumn day in New York, I decided to walk the two or three blocks over to the home of this zucchini for the viewing. Mr. DeFranco met me in the driveway of his home, “You got your camera? You are not going to believe how big she got!”
Walking through the small front yard I could faintly make out the outlines of something lying on the ground, through the fence, amid the browning leaves. Not just one but three of the largest zucchini I had ever seen in all of my years. They were not “six feet” but closer to 4-1/2 feet and appeared to be quite heavy as Francesco struggled to raise it up so that I could snap a photo.
I asked him about fertilizer or Miracle Grow and he just shook his head and laughed, “No, no, no – I don’t use no Miracle Grow. It is its own miracle!” I suppose he has a point.
If you are planning to grow your own zucchini, there are growing tips on the University of Illinois Extension website for growing Summer Squash. The University suggests that the zucchini should be picked when they are small, “They should be harvested when small and tender for best quality.”
You can read about summer and winter squash here and here.
If you do not pick your zucchini at just the right moment, you may find that it will take on a life of its own.