You'll find the information you need about successfully growing zucchini right here. Zucchini are easy to plant, easy to care for and easy to harvest. Most zucchini plants are abundant producers and it's not uncommon to get a dozen or more zucchini squash from each plant. They are one of the easiest summer squash varieties to grow and tolerate hot weather very well. Because they are so prolific and easy to grow, zucchini plants are a great way to introduce kids to vegetable gardening. Zucchini is best used fresh, but it can be frozen, dried or pickled as well.
Zucchini plants are a type of summer squash that can be grown in both sandy and dense, clay-like soil, and everything in between. They can be grown in both container and traditional vegetable gardens, depending on the variety. Zucchini plants require at least 6-8 hours of daily direct sunlight. Rarer vining varieties require 8 square feet of garden space, while the more common bush varieties only need about 4 square feet. An added bonus of growing your own zucchini are the vibrant, edible, golden orange flowers that precede fruit production. In addition, the leaves can get quite large, often bigger than a dinner plate. The shade created by the leaves can do wonders to help keep weeds down.
The process of growing zucchini in your garden usually begins with seeds, as transplants generally don't do well if their roots are disturbed. The seeds are typically planted in the spring, after all danger of frost has passed. The squash are usually harvested while they are still immature as the seeds are smaller and the flesh is more tender. Zucchini plants will continue to produce for several weeks as long as they stay healthy and as long as you keep picking them. If your family really loves zucchini, plan on growing 1 plant per person in your household. You can also grow an extra zucchini plant and share the squash with your friends and neighbors.
Quick Overview of Growing Zucchini
Planting: When soil temps reach 65 degrees F, plant seeds 1 inch deep in small hills, spacing the hills 2 feet apart (for vining varieties, space them 4 feet apart).
Fertilizing: Use a balanced formula and apply when seedlings first emerge and again when blossoms appear.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist, but not wet.
Harvest: Pick squash when they reach desired size and seeds are still small, typically when the squash are 6-12" long they can be picked.
Recipes: When you're done growing zucchini, they can be fried, pickled, sautéed, roasted, stuffed or eaten raw.
One of our favorite things to do with zucchini is to stuff them with a mixture of rice, ground meat, chopped vegetables and seasoning. We also love to combine zucchini and other summer squash varieties to make a squash casserole. In addition, lightly breading sliced zucchini and putting it in the air fryer is also a treat we look forward to every year.
During prime harvest season, zucchini will grow extremely quickly - sometimes they seem to double in size overnight. Ideally, you want to pick them while they're still about as big around as a golf ball and about 12" long. If you let them go for a couple extra days, they can quickly turn into the size of baseball bats, both in diameter and length.
We've tried quite a few different zucchini varieties over the years and we've settled on our favorite variety, which is Cocozella Di Napoli. This is an Italian heirloom variety that's been around for almost 150 years. It demonstrates good disease resistance and an outstanding, nutty flavor. The striped skin is also very appealing to our eyes. In our little part of the world, this variety of zucchini keeps on producing when others stop.
Zucchini flowers have become a popular menu item in some upscale Italian restaurants. They are traditionally stuffed and fried. Some people grow an extra zucchini plant or two, just to harvest the blossoms. Typically, if you're going to eat the blossoms, you want to harvest them before they open, and refrigerate them as soon as possible.
Growing zucchini is a great way to introduce kids to gardening, mostly because the plants and squash grow so quickly. For most bush varieties, the time from germination to harvest is about 2 months, and the plants typically grow quite quickly once they emerge from the soil.
Click on the following links to learn more about growing your own zucchini.
Click here to learn about planting zucchini
Click here for information about watering and fertilizing zucchini
Click here to learn about harvesting zucchini
Click here for help with zucchini plant problems
Click here to learn about different varieties of zucchini
Click here for some zucchini recipe ideas
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