AMY KIRK: Got an unwanted neighbor? Pile up the zucchiniYou’re not a true South Dakotan until you’ve been a recipient of homegrown zucchini at least once in your lifetime. If you don’t grow it in your own garden, a relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker who does will oblige you.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
You’re not a true South Dakotan until you’ve been a recipient of homegrown zucchini at least once in your lifetime. If you don’t grow it in your own garden, a relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker who does will oblige you.
By midsummer, zucchini gets a bad reputation. Yet gardeners still grow it, because homegrown vegetables are more enjoyable to eat than store-bought veggies. But no one wants a quarter-section of zucchini. After a while, zucchini becomes the garden’s outcast — the reject, and not because of its odd name. It’s not as versatile as the tomato or cucumber, which can be canned into salsa or pickles, and isn’t as popular as the garden superstar, sweet corn.
As soon as a zucchini plant is given the slightest bit of attention, it gains confidence and grows until it’s capable of holding people hostage in the garden. It’s very aggressive and eager to become part of the garden, as well as every meal, but ends up being downright annoying. Zucchini eventually gets neglected but still tries to be accepted as much as the other vegetables.
If you don’t grow your own zucchini, you become tagged as a zucchini-less person and before long the odd little veggie starts stalking you. The garden’s misfit finds your home and waits for you. It’s strategically placed where you’ll see it upon approaching your door and will make you feel obligated to do something with it.
Zucchini can’t help that it’s so bothersome. Being overly aggressive is just part of its genetics. It tries to fit in, but after people consume their zucchini limit, the produce is viewed as an edible, obnoxious weed-like vegetable. It grows fast and when ignored becomes a torpedo-like vegetable bound for someone else’s doorstep or office desk.
One plant easily serves a family of 10 and has the power to run people off — especially friends, if a person isn’t careful. Discretion should be used in choosing intended recipients when gifting zucchini. A little goes a long way, and gardeners should never abuse good friendships with more than two or three zucchini per year.
Giving friends excess zucchini without losing the friendship involves offering the veggie in a more appealing form so the recipient doesn’t have to deal with it. The best way to make it more attractive is to bake zucchini bread, brownies, cookies and bars or add it to casseroles, kebabs, salads and soups. Whatever’s left can be cut up and frozen to try giving away again later, like in the middle of winter when South Dakotans are craving anything affiliated with summer.
On the other hand, the easiest way to cull out bothersome neighbors or the irritating people in one’s social circle is to repeatedly offer three or four large zucchini once a week. When recipients know you have zucchini for them you can you can deliver it to his or her home or office desk regularly without having to see or talk to them. The garden vegetable does all the work of putting an end to their bothersome presence by cutting them off with kindness.
People who come to South Dakota think our state is full of friendly people, and now you know why. Residents are always looking for new people give their extra zucchini to.
Amy and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. Her blog can be found at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.