Apparently, a lot of people like growing zucchini – as well as the idea of sharing it with others.
Fair Oaks gardener Dale Creasey found that out quickly when he offered to share seed for his “Super producer hybrid zucchini” with others. An accidental cross between an Italian squash and a small pumpkin, this fast-growing hybrid can produce 4 to 10 pounds of squash per plant per day.
The sample I tried looked like a green butternut squash with tender, sweet white flesh and few seeds. The squash tends to get wider before it grows longer, but can eventually resemble a double-wide baseball bat.
“The zucchini is generally fatter, but most also get longer the bigger they become,” Creasey explained. “Being a hybrid, they can be of many shapes!”
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During his retirement, Creasey turned his interest from water to gardening. Creasey, 84, worked as a planning hydrologist with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for 27 years. He now tends about a quarter-acre vegetable garden, dedicated to contributing fresh produce to needy families. Each summer, he contributes more than a ton of vegetables (mostly squash and tomatoes) to local food banks and charities.
That was his inspiration for sharing his squash seed. The more people who grow this prolific squash, the more possible donations to others in need.
As the tale of “Dale’s super squash” worked its way throughout the state and across the country, he got requests for seeds from as far away as New York.
“I probably have exceeded 200 emails, and it is continuing,” he said. “I did not expect to become a national celebrity.”
“I also plan to send seeds to the many charitable organizations that help those overseas, with descriptions and instructions (on how to grow),” he said.
Creasey shared the secret behind his amazing harvests: He plants his squash in mulch hills.
“I have what I call the ‘hill garden’ or the ‘mulch garden,’” he explained. “(It started with asking) lawn maintenance people to bring me their grass clippings and shredded stuff and leaves, and dumped them in a pile. I hauled chipped limbs from SMUD as well. After a few years, the materials decomposed into the organic soil of the hill garden. I added fertilizer and water.
“One year, I had six hybrid zucchini plants on this hill. They produced 60 pounds – or more – of fruits every day for several months. I took 2,500 pounds to the food closet. Some went to Loaves & Fishes, Saint John’s women’s shelter and Union Gospel Mission.”
Gardeners who would like some hybrid zucchini seeds may send their request to Creasey at firstname.lastname@example.org.