Who hasn’t heard of wheelbarrow loads of zucchini?

Jerry Apps
Author Jerry Apps initially started his acquaintance with zucchini in his garden in a big way. Today he has pared down the plantings of this prolific summer squash.

Mention zucchini and you usually evoke a smile. Who hasn’t heard of wheelbarrow loads of zucchini summer squash? Well, I hadn’t. As a kid, we had about every vegetable possible in our big garden. But no zucchini.

My guess is that Pa thought squash was something you harvested in the fall, and stored in the cellar for winter eating. I’m sure he and my mother couldn’t wrap their minds around eating squash in the summer.

When I began vegetable gardening at the farm I own now, friends suggested I must grow some zucchini. “It is the thing to do,” these friends said, never as much as hinting about the reputation for this summer squash that I somehow had avoided.

So, I planted a long row of zucchini, and they grew and grew and soon covered their end of the garden with beautiful big yellow flowers, and then long and quickly growing longer cucumber-like, and nearly ax handle-long fruit. I carried an arm load of zucchini to the cabin, hoping that Ruth would know what to do with them. She didn’t. We were soon nearly buried with zucchini, until Ruth discovered a recipe for zucchini bread, which, according to the grandkids, tastes better than cookies.

These days we grow just a few zucchini plants in our garden. We have them more under control, mostly. Ruth makes zucchini bread, Sue makes zucchini cake, Natasha makes zucchini cookies, and we enjoy the occasional casserole that has zucchini in it.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: What would a garden be without zucchini to talk about?

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to