Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Zucchini Races II October 9, 2008

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Back in the hot, lazy days of summer, I wrote a totally off-topic post about zucchini races at a Seattle farmers’ market. For some reason, it got a lot of hits from people looking to run their own version of the event, and I regretted not having more actual how-to information in the post.

In the early fall, my daughter attended an Oktoberfest event in Seattle’s wacky Fremont neighborhood (formerly industrial, then arsty, now given over mostly to yuppification, sadly). Self-designated as “the Center of the Universe,” Fremont is home to many pieces of street art and public sculpture, and is definitely worth a walk through on any visit here, despite the gentrification.

The zucchini cars the kids made were simpler than the ones at the farmers’ market, but they operated on the same principle, just with fewer doodads for ornamentation. Here’s how to make one.

Ingredients:

– 1 smallish zucchini, any color (must be fairly straight, so the “belly” doesn’t drag

– 4 wooden craft wheels (1 1/2″ diameter)

– 4 nails (1 1/2″ or thereabouts)

– 8 washers

– 8 plastic craft beads

– drink umbrellas, pipe cleaners, feathers, toothpick flags, self-stick eyes, etc for decoration

Load a bead, a washer, a wheel, another washer and another bead onto each nail and push all four into the zuke. Check for roll-ability. Decorate as desired or leave simple for aerodynamic sleekness. Race on a pinewood derby track, don’t make a big deal of who wins or doesn’t. That’s it!

Zuke car

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Zucchini Races! August 21, 2008

One food crop that tends to do well in a parking strip is squash. It can take a lot of heat/sun and you can give it ample space to spread out, plus doesn’t need the best soil. But then harvest time comes and sometimes you have too much. Wondering what to do with all your extra zucchini? If you can’t think of any more recipes or give it away to the neighbors or food bank, you can always make a toy out of it! We went to Seattle’s Lake City Farmers’ Market last Thursday and they had a “Zucchini 500” booth set up for kids to make, decorate and race mini squash cars of all shapes and sizes.

Zucchini Racecars

The kids had a great time fancying up their zukes and putting them on the track for 3-up challenges. My daughter’s wheels got stuck the first time through but after an adjustment, her car won the next race! It was a super hilarious late-summer dose of garden silliness.

Zucchini Race