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A zucchini of the size seen above is not a giant, but a normal-sized mature zucchini. Source: www.playinganewgame.com

Giant zucchini season has begun! Every year, I start to receive photos of giant zucchinis, as long as a baseball bat and four times as thick. The owners always seem very proud of their exploit and want to know if their fruit is a world-record holder.

I don’t like to burst the bubble of such enthusiastic gardeners, but … it’s perfectly normal that a zucchini left growing too long on the plant would become huge.

The zucchini (Cucurbita pepo), called courgette in the United Kingdom, is considered a “summer squash,” that is, a squash designed to be harvested before it reaches maturity, like pattypan squash, rather than when it reaches its full size, like a “winter squash” (pumpkins, Hubbard squash and their ilk). Its fruits should be picked when still very young and tender, at no more than 8 inches (20 cm) in length, while the skin is still thin and the seeds are only tiny dots. If allowed to mature further, its taste becomes mealy, the seeds develop and have to be removed before serving, and the skin hardens and becomes essentially inedible.

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Harvest zucchinis often while they’re still young and tender. Source: trialandstyle.com

Also, if you make a habit of checking your zucchini plant every two or three days and picking the fruits when they reach the appropriate size, this constant harvesting stimulates the plant to continue to produce more fruit. When you leave a fruit to mature, the plant stops producing, reducing your harvest by three quarters or more.

The Real World-Record Holder

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John Scozzafava with his world-record zucchini. Source: www.niagarathisweek.com

Besides, even if you are very proud of your 3-foot (90 cm) or even 4-foot (120 cm) zucchini, it’s still a far cry from being from the longest in the world. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, that record belongs to a zucchini grown by John (Giovanni) Scozzafavain his garden in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 2014. His zucchini measured a whopping 8 ft 3.3 inches long (2.52 m), more than 2 baseball bats in length! Scozzafava claims to have given his zucchini no special treatment other, that is, than watering.20180728A www.playinganewgame.com

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

4 comments on “The World’s Longest Zucchini?

  1. Patricia

    My zucchini plants have numerous male flower but very few female blooms. Why

  2. Pingback: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins (31 cents each) - Good Cheap Eats

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