Ask a Master Gardener: Zucchini flowers also edibleThis question has been answered by St. Louis County Master Gardeners, who have been trained by the University of Minnesota as volunteer horticultural educators. Questions can be submitted and additional information found at www.extension.umn.edu/garden.
Q: My zucchini plant makes lots of flowers, but only some of them turn into zucchini. Is something wrong?
A: Nope. Zucchini plants bear both male and female flowers, and only the female flowers turn into squash. You can eat the flowers, though, and many chefs prefer the male flowers. You can tell them apart because the male flowers have a thin stem. Harvest in the morning when they’re open, leaving at least a couple to fertilize the female flowers. You can dip them in batter and fry them, stuff them or even eat them raw.
Q: I’d like to plant a ground cover around my new patio. Part of it gets sun until 2 p.m., part of it gets a little less sun and part of it is always in shade. I’m looking for something that will spread fast, with interesting foliage.
A: There aren’t a lot of ground covers for our region that can grow in both lots of sun and deep shade, so you may want to try a mix of plants. If you want the same thing all the way around, here are a few possibilities that spread quickly and have attractive foliage.
Golden moneywort (lysimachia, also called golden creeping jenny) prefers sun but can take some shade and can withstand some foot traffic.
Lamium is a shade plant but can tolerate that much sun if you keep it watered.
Another shade-lover, sweet woodruff, can take part sun. You can use its fragrant leaves in sachets and potpourris.
Creeping thyme also makes a nice ground cover between paving stones or next to a patio. It will grow in sun and shade, but will flower better in sun and may grow more sparsely in shade. You can cook with it, too. Add it to ricotta and stuff a zucchini flower.