Growing zucchini is one of the easy summer squash to grow in the garden.
I remember as a child our garden producing baseball bat size zucchini.
The large zucchinis were stacked high on the kitchen counter. Our neighbors couldn’t give them away.
We made zucchini bread, zucchini brownies and zucchini pickles, we put zucchini in the freezer so we could make zucchini bread in the winter.
I wasn’t fond of zucchini until after I married; my husband showed me how to pick zucchini squash at just the right size of 4 to 6 inches.
Lightly sautéed in butter, salt and pepper or even lightly steamed these small zucchini are a real treat and add great nutrition to your meals.
Growing zucchini squash plants are among the first fruits from the garden in northern areas which is nice after a long winter. You can enjoy this summer squash while you wait for your corn and tomatoes to ripen.
Gray zucchini is light colored and has a round end. I think these zucchini have a nice buttery flavor and are my favorite. I always have a hill of three plants each summer.
Dark green zucchinis are the most popular and the one my parents grew. The dark skins contain high levels of lutein an antioxidant that is responsible for eye heath.
There are yellow and striped varieties all have the same growth patterns. Growing zucchini of different colors can make a nice colorful stir fry insuring you get all the nutrients that come with fresh vegetables.
Zucchini is a tender plant and germinates quickly in warm soils usually 3 to 5 days. It is best to plant seeds directly into the garden unless you live in a very moist area, of so start the seeds indoors and plant to the garden after 2 leaves develop.
Plant your zucchini seeds after all spring frost have past. The soil needs to be warm for good seed germination. Zucchini grows quickly so it is okay to wait to plant.
Plant the seeds in hills or rows. I like hill because I am only planting a few plants. Give the plants about 3 feet of space to grow.
Dig a small hole and place 5 to 6 seeds inside. Cover lightly with about 1 inch of soil.
I use the no-till garden method so I pull back the mulch and place the seed on top of the soil and then cover up again.
Water lightly. The plants will germinate in about 3 to 7 days depending on the warmth of the soil.
I have had zucchini seeds germinate in 4 days and as long as 10 days.
Young growing zucchini plant after a month of growth. You can expect your plants to start flowering in about 45 to 50 days after the young shoot appear from the soil.
In about a month and a half you will see the male flowers appear followed by female flowers. Female flowers have small fruit on them that look like mini zucchini. After these female flowers are pollinated the fruit will grow fast.
Check you plants every few days. Once the fruit are ready to harvest you’ll want to check them at least every other day. Cut the zucchini off the plants with a knife to prevent damage to the plant.
Harvest the zucchini squash when the fruits are about 4 to 6 inches in length. If you’ll keep the fruit harvested you will enjoy squash all summer. Once a squash gets large and mature it can stop the plant from producing more fruit.
As the summer wanes the zucchini plants are susceptible to powdery mildew. Powdery mildew blows in on the wind. If you plant successive plantings a few weeks apart you can avoid most of this by always having strong young plants producing squash.