It happens every summer: One moment the zucchini plants are producing their first tiny green squashes. Then it's no time at all before they've multiplied faster than beachgoers on a 100-degree day and there's enough zucchini to feed the whole neighborhood for three years or longer.
What's a gardener to do? Here are nearly 100 ideas for getting rid of a surfeit of zucchini:
1. Donate them to the city to fill potholes.
2. Write a book titled "The Great Zucchini Diet" and get on "Oprah."
3. Include a free zucchini with each book.
4. Investigate whether you can deduct zucchini from your taxes as a "business expense."
5. Go to a costume party dressed as a caveman and use one as a club.
6. Create an art statement on your neighbor's lawn.
7. Hide them in your oven, cupboards, and closets ... and then move.
8. Present a trunkload to that business that overcharged you.
9. Go to boat shows and market them as boat fenders.
10. Put them in the freezer to make zucchini-sicles for the neighborhood kids on hot summer days.
11. Create a space alien to scare your friends.
12. Create a new musical band, "The Zucchinis."
13. Use as fishing bobbers.
14. Combine chocolate and zucchini for a decadent new dessert called "Death by Zucchini."
15. Box a bunch as a present for the boss who didn't give you that promotion.
16. Carve flutes for all-organic musical groups.
17. Give them to your mailman to throw at charging dogs.
18. Donate to the local gun club for target practice.
19. Paint faces on them and sell them as "pet zucchinis."
20. Build a floating bridge.
21. Tie two zucchini to the ends of a string and create a new martial arts weapon.
22. Use to practice the javelin throw for the Olympics.
23. Pulverize in the blender and sell as an "all-natural" facial.
24. Offer them as door prizes for the next luncheon of your favorite charity.
25. Have a zucchini-eating contest. The loser gets a big supply of ... you guessed it.
26. Tell your relatives that if they don't take your excess zucchini, you'll cut them out of your will.
27. Teach a "Fencing for Wusses" class at your local adult education school ... using zucchini.
28. Feed three times a day to unwanted guests.
29. Give to the man who insists he has everything.
30. Play "fetch" with your dog, who never brings things back.
31. Spray-paint zucchini yellow and say they're exotic bananas.
32. Donate to the local flood-control organization to plug holes in levees.
33. Create the world's biggest compost pile.
34. Have a prenuptial agreement that if you should ever divorce, the other spouse gets the zucchini.
35. Leave one a day on the doorstep of someone whose attention you want to attract.
36. Make a zucchini into a drum and howl at the moon.
37. Lay them down as speed bumps to slow traffic on your street.
38. Build Fort Zucchini for the kids.
39. Give to door-to-door solicitors to keep them from coming back.
40. Form a 12-step Zucchini Growers Anonymous club.
41. Decorate and tie to your Christmas tree as dangly ornaments.
42. Place under the mattress of guests who are overstaying their welcome.
43. Give a load to the person you can never please; she doesn't like anything anyway.
44. Have a yard sale; 10 percent off if you take a zucchini.
45. Don't take "no" for an answer when the local homeless shelter refuses to take any more zucchini.
46. Make a deal with the raccoons that they can have your corn if they take the zucchini, too.
47. Hire a hit man to squish the squash when you're out. Make sure you have an alibi.
48. Leave a big, rotting one on the bed of the guy who rats on you.
49. Donate a few hundred to the local "time capsule." Don't leave your phone number.
50. Give as a wedding present to the guy who dumped you.
51. Slice and use as disposable chips at your next poker party.
52. Offer to send with the next spacecraft being launched to discourage aliens from visiting earth.
53. Varnish and sell as doorstops.
54. Sell them as "spot reducers" that roll away the flab.
55. When you can't stand the thought of having "Z" one more night, say it backward and tell your family you're having a Greek dish called "Inihccuz."
56. Construct environmentally friendly garden fences.
57. Tie them together and float in the pool to mark lanes.
58. Use as torches to light your summertime pool party.
59. Line your bird cage with a zucchini.
60. Pick a cause, any cause, then sponsor a zucchini "canoe race."
61. Make an animated film titled "The Great Zucchini Wars." Leave no survivors.
62. Name your garden the "Zucchini Capital of the World." Get grant money for your pain and suffering.
63. Use as a disposable kitchen rolling pin, to roll out biscuits and pie crusts.
64. Make your new spouse promise in his wedding vows: "For better or worse, richer or poorer, no matter how much zucchini you feed me..."
65. Leave the world better than you found it by making your kids repeat after you... "I will never plant zucchini, I will never plant zucchini...."
66. Put in your kids' stockings at Christmas - if they've been bad.
67. Go to a potluck supper one night and take your most zucchini-intensive dish. Generously leave a few bags of zucchini at the door, along with the recipe.
68. Found an organization whose mission is to gather all the zucchini seeds in the world - and destroy them.
69. Trick-or-treat. Pass them out to children at Halloween.
70. Keep a zucchini in the bathroom to stuff in the tub drain when you lose the plug.
71. Keep one handy to use as a toilet plunger.
72. Tape your business card to them and hand out at business conferences to make a lasting impression.
73. Go to Santa Fe and donate them as hot-air balloon weights.
74. Tell a supermarket tabloid that your zucchini have special aphrodisiac qualities.
75. Follow up with a story that your garden is a former UFO landing site, which gave your soil special properties.
76. Follow up again. Say that you're donating your zucchini to anybody over 50.
77. Form a Whiffle Ball league that uses zucchini as bats.
78. Present to your local symphony conductor for use as "environmentally friendly" batons.
79. Design a "Captain Z, Superhero" costume and wear it as you pass zucchini out to children to be used as laser guns.
80. Create a website so others can share their zucchini woes.
81. Keep some in the freezer to plug those broken pipes in the winter.
82. Play Huck Finn by tying zucchini together to build a raft.
83. Stuff in your noisy neighbor's mailbox.
84. Provide "insurance" to your neighborhood. Tell them nothing will happen to their houses if they agree to take a regular supply of zucchini.
85. Make a fashion statement: Design a zucchini hat.
86. Create "zucchini dachshunds" to offer at street fairs.
87. Varnish to sell as organic earrings.
88. Keep some handy to slip under your tires when you get stuck in the snow or mud.
89. Tie messages to 100 zucchini and then toss them into the ocean.
90. Dare to be different. Create a zucchini Christmas tree this year.
91. Drop a giant zucchini in your toilet tank to conserve water.
92. Make a wall hanging.
93. Dip zucchini in chocolate and sell at your local candy store.
94. "Discover" an ancient document in your garden that says zucchini grown there hold the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe.
95. Claim justifiable homicide if friends have you over and serve ... you know.
96. Say "I'm not going to take it anymore," pile them up, dance around the bonfire, and laugh maniacally.
97. Pray for lasting peace ... and the strength to make it to the end of the zucchini mating season.