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How to grow Zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini is a vegetable garden favorite because it tends to be a very heavy producer, and can grow in most gardening climates.


Container gardening is an option for growing zucchini, if you don't have garden space available. Zucchini can even be grown indoors!


Nutrition Information
Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, B6, C, K, Folate, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus, Copper, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium


Climate & Growing Conditions
Zucchini is a warm weather crop, sensitive to frost and to cold. It can grow nearly anywhere, but has a shorter growing season in colder areas.
Full sun (partial shade is ok too) is best for growing zucchini.


Preparing the Garden Soil
Zucchini will tolerate a wide range of soils. The most important thing you can do to help ensure your zucchini crop's success, is to provide it with soil that has good drainage.


Before planting, dig in either a complete fertilizer, or a healthy amount of well-rotted manure or compost.


A pH level between 6.0-7.0 is best for growing zucchini.


Planting
As with squash, build an 8” deep mound of soil, indented so that water drains to the center. Leave 3 feet of space between the mounds. Place several zucchini seeds ½” deep at different locations around the mound. When the seedlings emerge, thin to 3 plants per mound. When the true leaves appear, you can thin to one or two healthy plants per mound.


Gardening Tip for Growing Zucchini - Remove seedlings by cutting them off at ground level. Do not pull them from the soil, or you risk damaging the root system of the remaining zucchini plants.


Watering
Water up to (under) the plant, but not directly on the stems or foliage. This helps prevent many of the plant diseases that can occur when growing zucchini.
The leaves may wilt during hot weather, but if the soil is kept moist it should recover.
Note: If your zucchini plants aren't getting enough water, this can cause the immature fruit to fall off the the vine.
Fertilizing


When you see the first zucchini fruit starting to form, apply a dose of fertilizer to the ground (and water it in immediately).
Note: Don’t over fertilize your zucchini garden or you’ll have a lot of leaves and small fruit (instead of the other way around!).


Gardening Challenges
Powdery mildew and bacterial wilt are common. To prevent this problem, try not to handle the fragile vines and leaves when they’re wet.
Another common problem with growing zucchini, is that you may have plenty of blooms, but no fruit. There are two primary reasons for this. First, you may not have enough pollinating insects in the area. There's been a steady decline of these beneficial insects due, largely attributed to pesticide use. So, you may have to do their job for them. It's a simple process. Just pick up a small artist's paint brush. Then, as if you were a bee, go from flower to flower, lightly brushing the inside of the bloom. Repeat this process until you start to see fruit form.


The second reason could be that your male and female blooms aren't available at the same time. All squash plants have male and female flowers. The female flowers are the ones with the miniature fruits at the base. If not fertilized, these fruits will shrivel up without ever developing into mature fruit. Male flowers are the ones with no fruit between the bloom and the plant. Basically, a flower on a stem. If this is what's occurring, there's not much you can do, but wait for the plant to develop further. As it grows, it will start to produce a larger quantity of blooms, and you'll have a better chance of getting the right mix.
Pests that may enjoy your zucchini plants: aphids, pumpkin beetles


Gardening Tip for Growing Zucchini - Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases


Start harvesting when the fruit is 4” long (or longer) and when the skin is still tender.
Note: picking the fruit frequently causes the plant to continue to grow and to produce more. Essentially, it extends the gardening season of this plant.
If you leave many zucchini on the vine to mature, you'll find that it shortens the growing season, and you'll have fewer fruit to harvest.



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