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The legend of Montana Maggie

Respect your zucchini. It can nourish and protect you!

Hitting a bear with a zucchini

We all joke about our zucchini. It gets no respect. A zucchini vine is an amazing producer of nutritious vegetables. And yet, instead of admiring this humble vegetable, we ridicule it and take it for granted.  

We dump extra zucchini in unlocked cars in the neighborhood. Some gardeners even smile when a light frost kills zucchini vines and finally ceases their production.

Even the Hunger Free North Dakota project, while begging for vegetable donations, asks that only one zucchini plant be allowed to grow per county.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I could always find uses for zucchini. We enjoyed using giant zucchinis as baseball bats.

Did you know zucchinis float? You can carve a big zucchini into the shape of a canoe, put a mast on it, and have zucchini toy boat races.

It’s truly a versatile vegetable. Recently, I learned of another use of zucchini—as a WEAPON!

Montana Maggie loved the outdoors and she loved her garden. One day, a bear wandered in her backyard and started to eat apples from her tree. This angered Maggie’s dogs and they started to bark.

This barking made the bear mad.

The bear started to attack one of Maggie’s dogs. This made Maggie mad.

She kicked the bear under the chin using a kick she learned from self-defense training at the YMCA.

That got the bear REALLY MAD.

The bear swiped at Maggie’s leg and started to move toward her.

Maggie scrambled back into the house. She tried to close the door, but the bear stuck its head through the doorway.

Maggie’s life was in jeopardy. She got behind the door and tried to close it with all of her might, but the bear was too strong. Out of desperation, she blindly reached with her hand for something—anything—on the kitchen counter to defend herself. She found it.

No, it wasn’t a knife. It was a zucchini she harvested that morning.

She grabbed the zuke and bopped it on the bear’s head.

The startled bear turned away and ran in fear.

Now zucchini has my utmost respect. It can nourish, entertain, and PROTECT you.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, September 8, 2014. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: danskiego and Peter Dahlgren.

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