Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Fast Does Zucchini Grow?

My Mom always jokes that you have to be sure to lock your car in August, otherwise you may find zucchini in the back seat when you come out of the grocery store.

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that is aptly described by the word prolific. What seems like a good idea in the Spring when planting -- "let's plant a couple of zucchini plants!" -- later becomes a logistical challenge: "what are we going to do with all of these zucchini!?" For this reason, people in Maine have been known to get pretty creative with their zucchini harvest, whether it be sneaking them into friends' cars when they are not looking, bronzing them, or using the really big ones as softball bats at Holy Mackerel games.

One the of the great wonders of zucchini is the speed at which it grows. For this reason, I decided to collect some data on my Mom's zucchinis to see if I could answer the question "how fast does zucchini grow?"

I began a rigorous program of scientific inquiry. Each day I trekked out to the garden with my camera and ruler to chart the progress of my chosen squash. My first one died in two days of blossom end rot, at 3" in length. Undeterred, I began to chart the progress of a new specimen, this one was much hardier than the first. In all, I charted the progress of three zucchini, two from one plant and the third from another plant. I measured length and width with great precision and carefully charted the growth patterns of the squash in order to formulate a scientific theory of zucchini growth. My data is presented below and yielded the following conclusions: 
  • the change in length follows a linear progression which accelerates increasingly in the later stages of growth
  • on a typical plant there is a tendency toward an Alpha Zucchini, which dominates the resources of the plant
  • an average increase in length of 2" per 24-hour period is common for the Alpha Zucchini
  • an Alpha Zucchini can cause a severe retardation of growth among the subservient members of its zucchini pack
  • as soon as an Alpha Zucchini is harvested, the remaining zucchinis experience a surge of growth and a re-shuffling of squash seniority
  • zucchinis tend to experience a more significant increase in width after it rains
  • it is very challenging to figure out what to do with an Alpha Zucchini after it has been allowed to grow out of control

My Alpha Zucchini was harvested at 14" in length and 3.25" in width. We served it sliced and broiled with garlic-mint olive oil.

1 comment:

  1. This is where having pigs would come in handy {grin}.