Growing Zucchini – Do you like squash? If you like it, then you must be familiar with the vegetable. If you are wondering how to plant it as a beginner gardener, this guide will show steps and tips for growing it.
Zucchini is a summer squash which is originally from America. This is a vegetable and usually added in savory dishes as a garnish or salads.
The vegetable is usually 15 to 25 cm long with a green striped color. It is the best consumed while it is still fresh from harvest. It is also easy to plant and grow zucchini in your garden.
Zucchini is included in the squash and pumpkins family. And zucchini has classified into species Cucurbita Pepo. Zucchini that grow as bushes are known as summer squash and those that grow as vines are known as winter squash.
There are generally several ways of growing zucchini. The gardener can plant zucchini from seed, transplanting into the garden, or even planting it vertically.
There are no correct ways of growing zucchini as all methods can work as long as the gardener does it correctly and zucchini grows healthily.
Time of Growing Zucchini
Gardeners who are planning to learn steps of growing zucchini should acknowledge that zucchini is best to be planted in a warm season as it cannot stand cold well.
The ideal time of the year to plant zucchini is during early spring when the last frost of the winter season has melted away.
It is usually around the third week of springtime in March or April depending on the gardener’s location. The ideal temperature to begin planting zucchini is about 15 to 23 degrees Celcius.
Zucchini or squashes belongs to the cucumber family. There are two types of zucchini which are summer squash and winter squash. Summer squash is usually harvested when it is still premature.
The skin of summer squash is usually softer and thinner than winter squashes as they grow as bushes are not vines. Gardeners can start sowing seeds indoors during wintertime.
It will allow seeds to root earlier in the season. Before transplanting, it allows the seeds to get thicker by watering it less for a week.
Place of Growing Zucchini
In the next guide of growing zucchini, gardeners should know where the ideal soil area to plant zucchini.
Zucchini could be planted and grown in a soil area where it is exposed to direct sunlight. The plant also requires a soil that has well drainage as it needs a damp soil but not overflowed by water.
When planting in a pot or barrel, place a rock on the bottom for better drainage.
Concerning sunlight, find a soil is that is not covered in shade and will be exposed to direct sunlight about a minimum of 7 to 10 hours a day.
It is preferred to plant and zucchini in an area of soil where it piles with a good drainage system. Zucchini will grow well if the soil beds contain many organic components.
It will help to set up the soil beds beforehand by mixing it with compost to ensure it will be the best soil for the zucchini to grow in.
A good soil composition will ensure the zucchini to be well fed and grow healthily. The amount of pH of the soil should also be measured. The ideal pH of the soil is about 6 to 7.5.
Preparing of Growing Zucchini
After the gardener acknowledges the ideal time and place of growing zucchini, it is time to start preparing the planting.
Zucchini will be best to be grown about the third week of springtime. The gardener should prepare the soil several months before actually starting to sow the zucchini seeds.
Ensure the seeds are in good condition, the soil area is well-drained, and the temperature is warm enough. The ideal temperature to start sowing the seeds is about 15 to 23 degrees Celcius.
To prepare the soil beforehand, the gardener shall ensure the pH is between 6 to 7.5. Gardeners could mix peat moss into the soil to make it more acidic.
Add necessary compost and fertilizer and mix them well into the soil to help with the growing process. It helps to add some more sands into the soil to make them drain well.
When all aspects of preparation are ready, the gardener can start sowing and planting the seeds into the well-prepared soil.
The first step of growing zucchini is the planting process. The planting process could start indoors about one to two months before springtime.
The seeds can be planted indoors beforehand to prepare and get an early start in planting. The steps are to prepare a tray with holes in it to put the seeds individually on each hole.
Cover them with potting mix and plant the individual seeds in. Next, the gardener shall ensure to water them well and place them under direct sunlight.
The seeds can be transplanted outside once it has sprouted leaves. When it is ready, the gardener shall also ensure that the soil outdoors is ready for the seeds to be transplanted into.
The gardener then shall plant the seeds about a quarter or half an inch deep into the soil. After the seed is planted well, tap the soil to cover them. The gardener shall ensure that the root up to the stem is covered well with soil to make it grow healthily.
Afterward, water the plants regularly and make sure it receives enough direct sunlight every day. When you are planting large areas of zucchinis, keep the seeds about three or 4 inches apart from each other to keep them enough space in the growing process.
When planting in hills, each hill has about 8 feet apart in spacing. Gardeners may also plant the zucchinis in piles or mounds.
The piles of soil should be about 30 centimeters tall and 50 centimeters over. For each hill gardener should plant about 5 seeds to give some space for air and growing.
Growing Zucchini to Harvesting
In the next process of growing zucchini, the gardener should know the correct technique and tips to grow the plants until it is ready to be harvested.
Caring for zucchini is relatively simple if it is done correctly. The gardener shall ensure the plants are watered well and regularly. It also must be exposed daily in direct sunlight for about 6 to 10 hours a day.
To keep the plants well fed, gardeners might need to spray additional fertilizer every few weeks to keep zucchini healthy until it is ready to be harvested.
Also, gardeners should watch out for unwanted weeds on the soil where the zucchinis are planted. Keep out the weeds and protect the plants with mulch when it is deemed necessary.
If there are any dying parts of the plants, the gardener should quickly cut them off so it will not affect the growing process of any other part of the plants.
One thing to notice when the gardener is learning of growing zucchini, the plant has male and female flowers. The male flowers generally have thinner and longer stems.
The male flowers are usually larger than the female ones. And the male flowers will come out early into the growing process and they will not produce the fruit.
The female flowers will come out later and they have ovary that will swell on the base of its stem. Bees shall fly into the male flowers and then the female flowers to allow them to have pollination.
The pollination will allow dust to be carried into the female flower and produce fruit on its stem. If natural pollination by bees is not possible, the gardener can pollinate the plants by themselves by pulling the stamen into the female flowers.
The fruit will then grow and once its form is shaped, set them on different platforms so it will not grow on soil. This immature fruit is the one that will be harvested and eaten when the time for harvest has come.
Growing Zucchini Vertically
There are many ways of growing zucchini. Zucchini can be grown indoors, outdoors, and even vertically. Gardener needs a barrel that is about 20 gallons or more in volume, an egg carton, and a tall wooden post to support the growth of zucchini.
The steps of growing zucchini vertically are quite simple if it is followed thoroughly and correctly.
First, the gardener should prepare the soil and seeds beforehand. As growing zucchini horizontally, the soil shall be well-drained. Once finding the right soil, the gardener can start preparing the seeds.
The seeds can be planted and sprouted indoors in a container a few weeks before planting the zucchini vertically. Once the seeds are sprouted, place them on a carton egg tray filled with soil mixture.
The next step is the gardener should prepare a large container or barrel with a volume of 20 gallons or more. The gardener should place about two or three rocks on the bottom before filling them with soil.
Once ready, fill the barrel with soil and compost to ensure the growth of the zucchini seeds. The gardener shall then plant the seeds that have sprouted into the soil and ensure it is placed where it will get direct sun.
The final step of growing zucchini vertically is to put three wooden posts on the barrel and tie them vertically together.
The post is then used to tie the stalks into the post once they have been growing. Do not tie them too tightly and ensure to start tying them from outside to the inside.
In a few weeks of the growing process, the gardener should take care of it by watering the vertical plants well and ensure it has minimal 8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Watch Out for Pests and Diseases
As planting other plants, the zucchini plant will not be free from the disturbance of pests and diseases. Common pests that will disturb the plants are bugs, squash borers, and beetles.
Gardeners can keep them away by hands or using a water hose. Squash borers will attack the plants on summertime in between June and July.
The pest will lay its eggs and destroyed the plants. Gardeners can avoid these pests attacks by covering each stem by aluminum foil.
A gardener might wonder how long does it take for zucchini to grow. Zucchini plants or, to be exact its premature fruit, usually can be harvested about 50 to 65 days from it was first planted on the soil.
The fruit is usually 12 to 25 centimeters long when it is ready to be harvested. Gardener shall know the correct way to harvest zucchini. Use a clean and sharp knife to cut off the zucchinis straight from its stem.
It is important to harvest the fruits as soon as it is ready as when it is let to grow further it will not taste as tasty. Those are the guide and tips of growing zucchini in your own home or garden.
Gardener, especially beginner gardener shall prepare the seeds and soils for planting zucchini at least a couple of months beforehand. Correct preparation will ensure the healthy and smooth growth of zucchini plants.
Gardeners should be careful in caring for the plants during the planting, growing, until the harvesting season to ensure the best harvest result of the plants.
Once harvested, zucchini can be consumed as additional vegetables for a lot of savory dishes. Zucchini will taste fresh in salads and as a garnish.
Zucchini can also be added into bread and deep-fried as tempura. The zucchini is highly nutritious and good for health as it contains very little calories or about only 17 kilocalories.
Growing zucchini in your garden can be a fun activity for family and the harvested zucchini can be consumed as a healthy meal for all family members.