Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
If you are a gardener, you are beginning to get a crop of zucchini. If you have a friend or friends who are gardeners, you will soon be gifted zucchini. Once these plants start producing you are likely to be overrun with fruit.
Squash is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in West Texas; however, some gardeners avoid it because of the frustration over the squash vine borers (squash bug) which affects not only squash but cucumbers and pumpkins as well.
This bug lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves and they are highly visible. Check under the leaves frequently so that you can deal with the bugs before the eggs hatch. If you see a cluster of the eggs, use a butter knife or similar tool to scrape them off and dispose of them. If they have already hatched, treat immediately with a powder available at local nurseries.
They emerge from the soil in June and early July and lay eggs. The eggs hatch and the larvae burrow into the stem of the plant and start feeding. This shuts off the water supply from the stem and kills the plant. Planting (or replanting) about the middle of July will help with the problem. When the larvae finishing feeding, they crawl back into the soil and wait to infest your 2020 garden. Planting in a different spot each year helps as well.
I recently read that some people lay two boards in their garden, one on top of the other. During the night the bugs will crawl underneath and between the boards. In the morning they can simply be crushed. Yuk, I know, but by now you will likely be frustrated and ready to be rid of them.
When you are overrun, there is always the standby favorite, zucchini bread. Oh, and don’t forget, shredded zucchini can be frozen and stored in baggies in the freezer for this winter too.
Twisted Zucchini Bread
2 small zucchini (shredded and drained)
1-1/2 c. flour
½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
½ c. of applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ c. nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two 8” x 4” loaf pans. Stir all ingredients until blended – do not over mix. Fill each loaf pan one-half full and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.