At our old house I couldn't grow zucchini like my friends. I truly had zucchini envy! Yup, it's a thing. If you're struggling to grow large healthy zucchini plants or want to plant it for the first time this post will truly help you.
Yes, I couldn't grow zucchini well in my last garden, but let me tell you I've learned some major secrets I can't wait to share with you. Go ahead and pin this post because when it comes time for planting you'll want to refresh your memory.
SECRET #1: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SOIL
HOW TO GROW ZUCCHINI
Growing Zucchini is a must for any vegetable garden. For one thing, it's super easy to do, and the other reason is there's an endless amount of things you can make and preserve using your Zucchini harvest. More on that at the bottom.
Zucchini are a heat loving plant much like tomatoes and peppers, although they grow much quicker and don't need to be started as early inside.
Once the soil has warmed and fear of frost as gone, then you can direct sow or plant 3-4 week seedlings into the soil.
Plant easy to grow zucchini plants in full sun with other summer squash, tomatoes, corn, peppers and marigold flowers for optimal cross pollination to produce lots of zucchini.
RELATED: MARIGOLDS AND COMPANION PLANTING
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SHOULD I START ZUCCHINI SEEDS INDOORS?
Zucchini squash seeds can be started inside, but honestly I don’t bother. I’m always shocked just how well direct sowing goes when I put the seeds straight into my garden beds.
If you do choose to start planting zucchini seeds indoors, start them indoors 3 weeks before your last frost date.
Otherwise, direct sow when the soil warms in late May/early June.
SECRET #2: SOAK SEEDS IN WATER BEFORE DIRECT SOWING!
BEST HEIRLOOM ZUCCHINI VARIETIES
Look for heirloom varieties that are disease resistant including the common powdery mildew and the cucumber mosaic virus.
Some zucchini plants are a bush variety and grow more fruit in less space than a long vining plant that requires trellising.
SECRET #3: BUSH BABY AND PATIO STAR ARE BEST FOR CONTAINERS!
Yellow zucchini squash are great for pan frying and using baking if you prefer not to have green flakes in you loaves and cookies.
HOW TO GROW ZUCCHINI
My best secrets for growing healthy, happy zucchini plants is to start with the soil. We spent a ton of money on soil at our old house and our zucchini plants were horrible. The secret is in the layering of organic materials and starting in the fall if possible.
Why? You already have access to all of the goodies you need to build amazing soil in your backyard or community especially if you live on a homestead. Read more about building healthy soil that grows amazing vegetable plants here.
Zucchini plants require a fertile, humus-rich soil and an ideal PH of 6.0-6.8.
The best place to plant your zucchini plants is on the edge of the garden so they run out on the lawn.
Once you've got your soil figured out it's time to choose your seeds. With my soil above I've had just as much success growing untreated organic non gmo heirloom seeds as seeds from the nursery and even the dollar store.
The true difference will come down to the health of the plant, the benefits of the fruit and the taste.
Zucchini is to be grown in full sun and planted 1 inch deep. Space plants 18-24 inches apart in rows 36-48 inches apart.
If growing in pots, plant 1 zucchini seedling or seed in a large 5 gallon pail.
ZUCCHINI PLANT CARE
Provide adequate watering especially in hot dry weather. Make sure to water at the roots and avoid overhead watering to prevent disease.
Remove any fruit that does not set properly.
Planting flowers nearby will improve pollination and fruit set. Border your garden with Marigolds, they are the perfect perennial plant.
ZUCCHINI PLANTING FAQ
HOW MANY ZUCCHINI DO YOU GET FROM ONE PLANT?
Zucchini plants have a surprisingly large yield and produce many zucchini just from one plant over the harvest season. Expect anywhere from six to ten pounds of zucchini!
It's important to make sure you do plant at least two, or flowers around your zucchini because if the flowers aren't pollinated you won't get any! Ask me how I know…
Another tip is to make sure you harvest your zucchini every few days at the peak of the season to make sure they don't get too large!
IS IT EASY TO GROW ZUCCHINI?
Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetable (although its really a fruit..) plants to grow because it's easy to plant, easy to grow and comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, it's easy to get carried away!
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW ZUCCHINI?
Zucchini is also a very quick vegetable to grow from seed to harvest, the average is anywhere from 35-55 days!
Mark your calendar 35-55 days, depending on what your seed package says, for when to harvest your zucchini. Watch our because this plant grows quickly! An average of 2 inches per day! Harvest your fruit every other day by using a sharp knife to cut the stem!
THE BEST WAY TO ENJOY FRESH GARDEN ZUCCHINI
Zucchini is best fresh from the garden when it's still small. Cut into rounds and add to a veggie and dip plate, pan fry with bread crumbs and cheese, or make fritters. The ideas are endless!
WHAT TO DO WITH LARGE ZUCCHINI
Large Zucchini's are best for preserving. remove the hard skin and flesh out the seeds. Did you know you can roast the seeds just like pumpkin seeds?
Using a cheese grater or a food processor, shred the zucchini and drain the excess liquid. Use the shredded zucchini for baking, preserving or freezing to use in soups, stews and more throughout the winter!
Zucchini is one of my favourite fruits from the garden to preserve. Along with the mountains of tomatoes and apples we deal with, zucchini is always first on the list to be canned.
Our family tries to eat as much while it's fresh in the summer and give it away before we get sick of it. Then I'll start to prepare my zucchinis as stated above to be frozen and used in recipes throughout the winter.