Each night for the next 3-4 months, zucchini, crook neck or other summer squash (patty pan and it's alien cousins) will find its way into our fruit and veggie smoothie.
It is so mild you don’t even know it’s there. Zucchini is one of my favorite “filler” veggies to add. When we have company for dinner, they always get a smoothie too. Adding extra zucchini is my favorite way to stretch a smoothie when guests arrive.
Super neutral in flavor, it takes up a lot of space in a glass and is so easy to grow you always have it on hand. Even if you don't grow it, it's super cheap this time of year. We were at a Farmer's Market two weeks ago and found it 10 for $1....BOOM!
Sadness and despair are two things one should never feel in the presence of summer squash. However, when your plants struggle and don’t produce well there are a few things you can do to return that plant to its botanical glory.
The 3 easiest things you can do to keep your zucchini happy are:
ONE - PULL OFF THE HUGE SQUASH. DON’T CHUCK THEM. Cut them up, put them on a silpat and freeze them for smoothies later in the year. The giant ones that go undetected make the plant dump it’s nutrients to it keeping it from nourishing new babies. As soon as the HUGE one is gone, the plant will focus on the newbies and you will be back in business again.
Ever heard of powdery mildew? It’s not that nasty stuff lurking in the community shower at the KOA but it is a relative. It’s white or grey fungus growing on the leaves of your plants. It can eventually kill the entire leaf and stem if nothing is done. It usually won’t kill your plant but it will slow the growth of what the plant produces.
There are several ways you can treat powdery mildew by applying different sprays. One study I read even used diluted mouthwash (1 part mouthwash:3 parts water). However, the thought of mixing and applying spray is beyond even my energy level.
In my opinion, the single most effective, hippy schmippy way I use to combat the fungal demon is NOT with a chemical concoction. It’s a secret my dad taught me.
TWO - PLUCK THE AFFECTED LEAVES OFF.
The mildew prevents your squash plant from being able to photosynthesize to its full sunshine converting energy loving potential. Once removed your plant will actually grow new leaves keeping your summer squash producing longer and better.
Just yank/snap with a gloved hand unless you have Kevlar for skin or prune off the damaged leaves and get rid of them. Like landfill get rid of them, not in your compost pile.
THREE - When your zucchini first starts to flower, PLANT AGAIN. My dad is also responsible for teaching this one to me too. Planting again ensures you have tons of summer squash right up until it freezes in the fall. I planted again less than 2 weeks ago and have new plants 6 inches tall. These plants will keep me in zucchini not only in the fall but all winter long.
Piles and piles of zucchini are the best! Sautéed with olive oil and a tiny bit of salt. Shredded into zucchini latkes or brownies. Baked into chips covered with a layer of crispy parmesan cheese. Gallons and gallons cubed, frozen and lovingly packed away to be used all winter long to stretch your smoothie with the power of veggies.
Your challenge for this weekend is to try zucchini in your fruit and veggie smoothie. We use about 1/2 a zucchini each night.
If you find you don't see my 2 posts a week on social media - I post - things just get buried super fast. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE by entering your email below and you won't miss a single one. Never fear, SPAM sucks and I won't do anything stupid with your information (which is only your name and email address).