Zucchini belongs to a family of vegetables known as summer squash and as the term suggests, is seasonal. While zucchini is rather temperature sensitive, it does have the benefit of being quite fruitful. So, you can get a lot of vegetables with a fewer number of plants. Here is what you need to know about growing it:
Planting Zucchini Plants
Due to their temperature sensitive nature, it can be tempting to plant zucchini seeds indoors to prevent them from being exposed to extreme temperatures. This can be a little tricky as these plants don’t transplant well and are likely to go into shock.
The best time to plant zucchini seeds is after the last frost of the spring. You have a window until the middle of summer. The soil that you are placing the zucchini plants in should be at least 60°F and at least two inches deep. Therefore, if you are planning on planting them a little earlier in the spring, you should cover that plot with some black plastic. You should make certain that the plot is situated in an area that gets full sunshine.
There are two ways that you can plant the seeds. The first is individually, about one inch deep into the soil. The plants should be about two to three feet apart from one another. Then you can also grow them on a hill, which is an elevated mound. In certain climates, the soil in these mounds are warmer than the ground. Here, you can sow about three or four seeds in close proximity to one another.
Squash plants draw a lot of nutrition from their surrounding soil. Therefore, before you plant them in, you are going to need to work a lot of organic matter and some compost into the soil. The soil needs to drain well, yet retain some moisture. Do not plant zucchini in soggy soil.
Caring for Zucchini Plants
It is important to water zucchini plants properly. The soil in which they are planted should be moist up to around four inches below the surface. You can water the soil about an inch each week. The plants will need more water around the time that the fruits are forming and growing.
Make a point to fertilize the soil when the blooms appear and then again once the harvest begins. Failure to water or fertilize the plants properly can result in oddly shaped vegetables.
With summer squash such as zucchini, they are best when the fruit is small yet tender. It takes about 60 days for most types of squash to mature. You will be able to harvest the zucchini about a week after it has flowered.
Since they can be harvested so quickly, it is important to check for new vegetables each day. When taking them off the vine, cut the vegetable off rather than breaking it off the vine. Fresh zucchini can be stored in the refrigerator for about ten days.
This is what it takes to plant and grow zucchini plants. While it requires a little bit of effort, the harvest is worth the work.
To learn more about vegetable gardening of various kinds, you should absolutely check out The MiniFarming Guide to Vegetable Gardening.