Growing zucchini is an easy vegetable to grow in your summer garden. We just got our zucchini in the ground last week and I can't wait for it to start "taking off" and enjoying the bounty all summer long! If you want to know how to grow zucchini then I hope that you will find this guide useful!
Zucchini is part of the squash family and loves the sun. Just like other squash plants, one zucchini plant will go a long way. For a family of four, only grow two plants or you will have more than you bargained for. Here are a few tips to grow zucchini in your veggie patch this year.
The great thing about growing zucchini is that you can easily sow it from seed. If you are going to grow a couple plants, think about growing different varieties like Yellow Crookneck, Mexican Zebra, and the traditional green zucchini. Each has a unique flavor profile and would be great in a your summer dishes. Each seed packet has about 20 seeds and runs about $2 each.
Zucchini seeds are big, so make a one-inch hole and drop a seed into it. Cover it up with organic potting soil and water it in well. A seedling will pop up in 3-5 days. Large leaves grow within two weeks and the edible zucchini flowers start to blossom around week three. Harvesting tends to happen after 55 days and continues on all summer long.
Of course, you can also always pick up seedlings at your local nursery or garden center (this is what we did)!
Zucchini can attract whiteflies and leafminers so make sure to spray the plant down weekly. If you see ants making your plant at home, look to see if they are carrying aphids on their back. If they are, make sure to help move the anthill away as they aren’t the problem, but the aphids could be! If you have an infestation, grab your organic insecticide and apply a couple times a week to the leaves and surrounding soil. Don't want to use insecticides? Don't forget that there are a bunch of natural pest deterrents for your garden!
Zucchini plants do well with an organic fertilizer like compost added every three weeks during the growing season. If your plants’ leaves droop in the afternoon sun, make sure to give them a bit more water, especially in the early morning hours. It is always best to water your garden around sunrise to give the plant time to use the water efficiently.
If you can, apply straw down around the plants so that when the vegetables grow they are not lying directly on the ground. This will help prevent some soil-loving pests from eating your crop before you do! Most zucchini plants are bush-type plants but do well if you have a trellis-of-sorts for them to lean against. Basically, tie string between two posts, especially in a raised bed. When the plant grows larger you can maneuver the growing zucchini fruit to fall over the string keeping it up off the ground. Place strings about six inches apart, height-wise for an easy trellis.
Have fun harvesting your zucchini whether you make stuffed squash blossoms, eat the baby zucchini when they are so succulent, or wait until they get to be about six inches long. Zucchini is one of those amazing vegetables that taste great in all of its growing states!
Are you growing zucchini this year?
You might want to check out these other gardening tips:
Have you grown zucchini in pots? We grew it in my parents raised beds when I was younger, but now I'm living on my own and containers like these (http://www.suncast.com/productdisplay.aspx?id=760&pid=159) are my only options now. :/