Thursday, May 9, 2013

Zucchinis... Coming Right Up!

Thanks to a super-warm spring, our zucchini plants are already quite big, and it looks like we may have our first harvest as early as next week. I'm really happy that they look so good because I nearly lost them after transplanting due to an irrigation mistake.

Around this time of year, I always like to clarify the difference between zucchini, summer squash, and winter squash. The short answer is that there is almost no difference. Summer squash refers to fruits that are harvested before their seeds mature, when their skin is still soft. Zucchini is one kind of summer squash, as is yellow crookneck, pattypan, etc. Winter squash are mature squash fruits with hard skins. Winter squash include butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. An immature winter squash is a summer squash, and a way overgrown zucchini becomes like a winter squash. Of course, the varieties we know as summer squash have qualities that make them particularly good for that purpose, and same goes for winter squash. To clarify another common misconception, both are grown in the summer. Winter squash are harvested in the fall, and keep well in storage over the winter, hence the name.
Female squash flower with Golden Zucchini forming underneath.

Male squash flower (no fruit forms beneath it)

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