Gardeners frequently have a few tales to tell about zucchini. There are countless zucchini recipes, including fast breads, sautes, salads, casseroles, and pasta dishes, because this summer crop grows so prolifically.
No matter the size of your garden, find out how to produce zucchini and what to do with the abundant crop!
Zucchini: What Is It?
The plant family Cucurbita pepo, which also comprises winter squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins, includes zucchini, a variety of summer squash. In the UK, zucchini are known as courgettes and are long, dark green vegetables that occasionally have stripes. Although zucchini are considered and used as vegetables, they are actually fruits.
You can grow one of two varieties of zucchini plants.
a zucchini vine Growing along the ground, vine-type zucchini need a few feet of space between each plant. If you have an extremely strong support, you can train this type to grow vertically as well.
Growing along the ground, vine-type zucchini need a few feet of space between each plant. If you have an extremely strong support, you can train this type to grow vertically as well. Zucchini Bush: Bush zucchini plants are more manageable and just require a little amount of room. Because they can be grown in pots, they are ideal for backyards and tiny gardens.
We asked PanAmerican Seed’s vegetable sales manager, Josh Kirschenbaum, to offer his growing tips for zucchini. Even novice gardeners will benefit from his advice in producing a healthy yield.
Because zucchini have a long growing season, consider a planting spot with full sun, well-draining soil, and plenty of nutrients from compost or aged manure. Your plant will require regular, frequent watering; pick a location where you can water your plant conveniently on a regular basis.
After the threat of frost has gone, according to Josh, zucchini seeds can either be started indoors or planted straight in the garden. Even if you sow zucchini directly in the ground, you’ll still have a summer crop because they only need 40 to 55 days to grow. Make careful to space the seeds two to three feet apart and to plant them in the enriched soil at a depth of half an inch. Till the seedlings sprout, keep the soil moist.
Indoor Zucchini Planting
Plant one or two seeds in a planter to start zucchini indoors. Because the plants won’t fare as well if they become root-bound before being transported outside, Josh suggests using pots that are around four inches wide and deep. After the last frost, the seedlings can be moved to the garden.
Container Zucchini Growing
Bush zucchini cultivars thrive in pots. Select a sizable planter that is at least 18 inches wide so that the roots and plants have room to grow. Place one to three seeds in the center of the pot, about a half-inch deep, after adding a generous amount of potting soil to the container. As with growing zucchini in the garden, place your container in full sun and water it frequently to maintain the soil’s moisture as the seeds sprout and the plants develop.
Growing Zucchini on a Trellis Select a strong support or fence material that can hold the weight of the squash when training zucchini plants up a vertical trellis. In the ground in front of the trellis, the zucchini plants will be planted. When the vines are tall enough, arrange them on the trellis and, if necessary, loosely knot them to keep them in place.
Make sure the zucchini have ample support as they develop and get bigger. Make tiny hammocks out of scraps of fabric or old stockings to fasten the zucchini to the trellis.
Equipment Required to Grow Zucchini
Plant Care for Zucchini
Every week, give the plants a thorough watering, being sure to moisten the soil at the roots while leaving the leaves unwashed. As they grow and produce fruit, your zucchini plants will require a lot of water. To aid in maintaining wet soil, add a layer of mulch around the plants.
Male and female flowers are produced by zucchini, and both must be pollinated in order for zucchini to develop. Early in the season, the plants often produce a large number of male flowers that wither. Both types of blooms should eventually appear on the plants; the female flowers have a thicker stem behind their blossoms that resembles a miniature zucchini. You can aid by hand pollination by brushing pollen from a male flower onto the stigma inside the female flowers. This will help if your blooms keep falling off without producing fruit.
Keep the plants continuously watered while the zucchini fruits develop and shape. (We realize we’ve emphasized this a lot, but it’s crucial!) Since the plants require a lot of food as they develop and bear fruit, you can also put fertilizer around the plants.
Now is a terrific opportunity to save some of the best zucchini recipes ever!
When to Pick Zucchini Reports of obscenely large fruits are just as common as those of gardeners who have too many zucchini! As long as you leave zucchini on the vines, they will keep growing. Pick your zucchini periodically unless you’re aiming to grow the biggest in the county to participate at the neighborhood fair.
When zucchini are between eight and ten inches long, they are at their most soft and flavorful, making this the ideal time to pick them. To remove the zucchini from the plant, cut it at an angle with a pair of sharp garden shears so that rainfall won’t collect on the cut stem.
How many zucchini will your plants produce? But picking zucchini when they’re young isn’t just for getting tender zucchini. According to Josh from PanAmerican Seed, your plants will produce more zucchini throughout the season the more you harvest. The development and setting of new fruits slows down when zucchini are allowed to remain on plants and get bigger.
How to Keep Zucchini Fresh
When storing zucchini, keep them in the fridge for seven to ten days. Store them unwashed in your crisper drawer to regulate humidity because they’ll stay longer if you keep them dry.
Growing Advice for Zucchini
Beware of insects
Two garden pests that you should be on the lookout for around your zucchini plants, according to Josh. One is the brownish-gray squash beetle, which resembles a stink bug. On the undersides of leaves, you might notice egg masses or yellow dots where they have been feeding. Remove the eggs with a scraper, then wash the bugs with soapy water. Another prevalent pest is squash vine borers, larvae that emerge from moth eggs. By devouring stems from the inside out, they harm plants. Search for eggs close to stem bases, or remove wilting stems from plants where the larvae are eating. Both adult squash beetles and vine borers’ egg masses can be controlled with neem oil.
Planting zucchini too closely together is one mistake that novice growers frequently make. Josh advises gardeners to keep in mind that little plants will quickly spread out and require space to flourish. Additionally, having more room between the plants enhances airflow, which can prevent the spread of certain diseases like powdery mildew.
Josh observes another error growers make with zucchini. When you select your zucchini frequently, it will taste better and your plants will produce more. What if you have an abundance of zucchini? Your extra produce will be happily accepted by neighborhood food banks. Alternately, continue the tall tales about the zucchini by giving them to your agreeable (and occasionally uncooperative!) neighbors.
Tips for Using Zucchini
Now that you’ve grown your own zucchini, it’s time to discover just how useful this squash is. Tilapia with Zucchini Noodles and Zucchini Kabobs with Chicken are just a couple of healthy zucchini recipes. Create a colorful Pico de Gallo Salsa by dicing fresh zucchini and other veggies from your garden. Make this Zucchini Pizza Casserole for your kids to sneak in some extra vegetables.
You undoubtedly already know that zucchini can be used to produce a moist fast bread, but there are a ton of other delicious dessert recipes that call for zucchini! Like this cake in the German chocolate style, which is created with shredded zucchini and has an icing of coconut and brown sugar.
The first appearance of How to Grow Zucchini in Your Backyard Garden on Taste of Home.
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