Zucchini is in the group of summer squashes including crookneck squash, pattypan and Italian marrow.
We do not understand gardeners who complain about the over-productivity of zucchini. It's a blessing!
Zucchini is best when picked young - After questioning these overwhelmed gardeners, we discovered the real culprit: those oversized "submarines" over 18 inches in length. We agree there isn't much one can do with those and they're even hard to give away. So don't let the fruit get to that point. Pick early and enjoy the young tender fruits. At the store, you'd pay a premium price for "baby" vegetables.
The fruit is so versatile - Thinly sliced young fruits are a nice surprise in salads. Fruits also work well in stir fries and are included in our grilled vegetable medley (along with peppers and onions). They are also an essential component of caponata and ratatouille. And, let's not forget zucchini bread!
The blossoms are edible - Raw as a garnish or topping a salad, they make any dish gourmet. Cooked blossoms can be battered and fried in a little oil for a wonderful taste sensation. You've probably seen your favorite TV chef prepare show-stopping stuffed squash blossoms. Now, you can impress your friends and family too.
Harvest only the male blossoms (unless the goal is to reduce production) and leave a few male blossoms on the vine for pollination purposes. There are always many more male flowers than female. Distinguish the males from the females by the thickness of their stems. Males are thin while the females' are very thick. You'll find the developing squash as a bulge at the base of the female flower. For a special treat, harvest the female blossom along with the tiny squash growing at the end.
You don't need many plants - One or two per person is plenty.
- (Very) warm season crop.
- Direct-sow seed or start plants indoors for an early crop.
- Heavy feeder.
- Plant seeds in late spring or summer when the soil temperature is at least 75 ° F. For a detailed spring planting schedule, check out this Vegetable Planting Schedule.
- Plant in small hills created by digging an 18" deep hole and filling the hole with a mixture of equal parts soil and compost.
- Seed planting depth: 1”.
- Seed spacing: 10-16”.
Planting and Tending
- Mulch between plants.
- Raise fruits off the ground to prevent rot. Use an A-frame or trellis to grow plants upright.
- Drench the soil around the plants with a fish/seaweed emulsion solution at blossom time and again 3 weeks later.
- Cut fruits from vine to harvest before they become more than 8 inches long.
- Any squash can be part of a Three Sisters planting.
- May be planted in the spaces between hills of beans and corn.
- Likes to be near:
- Do not put near:
Visit the Vegtables Forum at GreatLakesGardeners.com to get answers to your growing vegetables questions. To ask a new question, Register if you haven't already done so(it's free and helps protect the forum from spam), click on Start New Topic, enter your question and click on Post New Topic.
You may also appreciate these books on growing vegetable gardens.