Zucchini produces fruits with green, yellow, gray or black skin and is sure to be extremely prolific in your summer garden.
Zucchini squash are generally long and slim, and can be dark green, light green, striped, and even yellow.
Both male and female flowers are edible and, once the pistils and/or stamens have been removed, are deep fried, stuffed, sautéed, baked, or used in soups.
Common name: Summer squash, Cousa squash
Color: Large, yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers.
Height: 18 to 24 inches.
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
Growing zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) in a garden is very popular. This is because planting zucchini is easy and a zucchini plant can produce large amounts of delicious squash. Let’s take a look at how to plant zucchini and grow zucchini squash in your garden.
When planting zucchini, you can plant them either as individual plants or grouped on hills. How you grow zucchini squash is up to you, based on how many zucchini plants you intend to grow and how much room you have to grow them.
Individual Zucchini Plants
After the chance of frost has passed, plant 2-3 seeds 36 inches apart. The seeds should be planted about an inch deep. Thin to one plant per spot once the seeds have sprouted and have grown their first set of true leaves.
Soil: Needs a fertile, moist but well-drained soil. If the soil is sandy or drains too quickly, work a layer of compost into the soil before planting to improve the moisture retention.
Water: Zucchini plants need regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist. The plants beg for water by wilting in the hot sun, even when the soil is moist. To make sure the plants actually need water, wait until the sun goes down to see if the foliage revives. If the leaves don t recover, water slowly and deeply to saturate the root zone. Use straw or hay mulch around the plants to prevent water evaporation.
Fertilizer: Feed the plants when the leaves turn pale or the stems appear week. Use a shovelful of compost for each plant or a low-nitrogen commercial fertilizer. Fertilizers high in nitrogen reduce the yield.
- Season: Warm season Exposure: Full sun Timing: Direct sow or transplant in late May or early June when soil is warm.
- For transplants, start seeds indoors during the first two weeks of May.
- Optimal soil temperature for germination: 25-35°C (68-95°F).
- Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days.
- Starting: Sow seeds 2cm (1") deep.
- Sow 3 seeds in each spot you want a plant to grow and thin to the strongest one.
- Aim to space zucchinis no less than 45-60cm (18-24") apart in rows 90-120cm (36-48") apart.
- Soil: Ideal pH: 6.
- These big, fast-growing plants need plenty of moisture and lots of food.
- Grow them in rich, well-drained soil in full sun.
- Dig finished compost or well-rotted manure into the beds, and dig in 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer beneath each transplant.
- Water the soil around them when you irrigate, and always avoid overhead watering, as wet leaves will attract diseases like mildew.
- Keep weeded.
- Misshapen or withered fruits can result from incomplete pollination.
- Make sure to remove these from the plants as you see them, before they begin to rot, and put them in the compost.
- In the home garden it can be tempting to over-plant zucchinis.
- One well-grown plant will provide enough fruits for the average family.
- Instead of planting several zuccinis, use that space for other vegetables.
Harvesting: You can harvest zucchini as soon as you see the fruit. Small fruit with flowers still attached are good when eaten fresh. Fruit that is 6 to 8 inches long works well for cooking. The fruit hides under the leaves, so check each plant carefully every day or two once the plants begin to produce. It s not unusual to find a foot-long zucchini that was overlooked for days. Cut the fruit from the plant with a sharp knife to avoid injuring the vine. Zucchini keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
- A bumper crop of squash can challenge the inventiveness of the most dedicated cook.
- Use these tasty summer veggies in pasta dishes, soup recipes, and more.
Get fresh flavor in about five minutes with this dish.
- Quick-cooking baby squash (you can substitute sliced regular squash or zucchini) combines with basil and salty feta for a side that can match all sorts of dishes―try it with everything from grilled salmon to pasta.