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      U.P. Gardening Tip - October 8, 2009

      Shortage of zucchini hits the U.P! Sounds impossible, yet it TMs true. Every gardener knows that zucchini has the reputation for overwhelming production, so what happened? The oblong bottle-shaped yellow and green summer squash is, as you can read|very easy to describe but many gardeners I interviewed, did not have their usual abundant crop. For the first time in many years, gardeners turned down annual family requests for any excess. My neighbor, Connie, also a gardener, informed me that she actually read an ad in the Marquette newspaper requesting zucchini. Impossible! I retorted. Zucchini is the easiest vegetable to grow. All it takes is a weedy hill and some sun. Gardeners refuse to waste water on them! We all know we must pluck zucchini flowers to control massive growth, and most times that doesn TMt even work.

      What will gardeners do about the lack of zucchini tonnage needed for zucchini bread? Most of us will miss those 2 lb. tin foiled rectangle chunks of spongy bread, freeze-squeezed alongside the venison. This is serious, folks.

      I was determined to solve the missing zucchini mystery and during my GOOGLE research, I may have found the answer. The shortage has nothing to do with global warming/cooling or the new buzz words, Global Climate Change. The lack of zucchini has something to do with bee inactivity. The large flowers must get pollinated and as zucchini was successfully grown all over the world (2009) in warm countries like Italy, Africa and India, my guess is that is was (think regional not global) too cold in the U.P this past summer and the bees stayed closer to their hives.

      My husband Mark said, I TMll probably have to become a bee keeper next season if I want my zucchini to make a comeback. I think not. I can miss zucchini for at least four years. It will take that long to empty my freezer!

      TV6 Contributor - Donna Campbell, Master Gardener

      Check out our TV6 Family Garden page for daily tips, local growing tips, and news and video, plus helpful links to gardening fun.