Posted Monday, July 30th, 2018
In honor of ‘National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day,’ the Morris County Park Commission will celebrate this versatile vegetable with an afternoon of zucchini-themed fun on Sunday, Aug. 5. Zucchini car races, squash toss games, garden tours, and scavenger hunts will be some of the activities planned at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum.
The event will run from 1 – 4 p.m. The cost is $2 per person. The arboretum is located at 53 E Hanover Ave, in Morris Township, directly acros from the Morris County Library.
‘National Sneak a Zucchini Onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Day’ was created by radio host Tom Roy, to be celebrated each year on Aug. 8. For a unique way to celebrate, join the horticulture education staff at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum for their 2nd annual Zucchini-Palooza, a fun-filled event focused on this versatile veggie!
Create and race zucchini cars, design unique art at the ‘Zucchini Baby’ station, or try the Squash Toss game to see if you can hit the target and win a prize. See squash fly with the Zucchini Catapult, and learn how to grow summer squash, save the seeds, and plan for next year’s garden. Make your own Zoodle salad with a vegetable spiralizer, tour the Vegetable Gardens while gaining tips from the gardeners, and enjoy a squash-themed scavenger hunt.
A bit of zucchini trivia, from Wikipedia, to help you better enjoy the county event: Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. However, the varieties of green, cylindrical squash harvested immature and typically called “zucchini” were developed in northern Italy, as much as three centuries after the introduction of cucurbits from the Americas.
It appears this occurred in the second half of the 19th century, although the first description of the variety under the name zucchini occurs in a work published in Milan in 1901. Early varieties usually appended the names of nearby cities in their names.
Zucchini is very easy to cultivate in temperate climates. As such, it has a reputation among home gardeners for overwhelming production. The part of the plant harvested as “zucchini” is the immature fruit, although the flowers, mature fruit, and leaves are eaten, as well. One good way to control overabundance is to harvest the flowers, which are an expensive delicacy in markets because of the difficulty in storing and transporting them. The male flower is borne on the end of a stalk and is longer-lived.
While easy to grow, zucchini, like all squash, requires plentiful bees for pollination. In areas of pollinator decline or high pesticide use, such as mosquito-spray districts, gardeners often experience fruit abortion, where the fruit begins to grow, then dries or rots. This is due to an insufficient number of pollen grains delivered to the female flower. It can be corrected by hand pollination or by increasing the bee population.
As of 2014, the world record for the longest zucchini is held by Giovanni Batista Scozzafava of Niagara Falls, Ontario, for a squash measuring 99 inches, or 8-feet, three-inches!!