7 Tips To Grow Zucchini Better
Zucchini (called a courgette in England) is a wonderfully versatile vegetable. You can stuff them, slice them for salads, spiralize them into vegetable noodles called zoodles, and so much more! Because of this, many people want to grow zucchini in their own gardens. Luckily that’s not a hard thing to do!
Zucchini are a very easy food to grow! To ensure you have a great harvest, take a look at these 7 Tips To Grow Zucchini Better!
1. Don’t Grow Too Many
Zucchini plants produce a lot of squash aka zucchini. If you plant too many and don’t have plans to preserve or give away the excess, you may wind up with a lot of zucchini rotting on the plant. To prevent that, keep in mind that 2 zucchini plants create 12-20 pounds of zucchini between them.
Also make sure not to plant your zucchini too close. There should be about 3 feet between each plant in a row. If you choose to plant your zucchini as seeds, you could also plant them in hills/mounds. In that case, you can put 3-4 seeds pretty close together in the hill, but each hill needs to have about 6 feet of space between it.
2. Avoid Cross-Pollination
To keep your zucchini from affecting the rest of your garden, don’t plant them next to cucumbers, yellow squash, acorn squash, and pumpkins. They can cross-pollinate and create new hybrids. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you don’t mind weird little hybrids popping up in your garden. They’re completely edible, just like their parents, but their flavors may vary.
Keeping plants separate helps to prevent cross-pollination because the bugs in your garden are more likely to accidentally cross-pollinate plants that are close to one another. But it’s not a guarantee, so just be aware of that possibility when planting zucchini in your garden.
3. Try the Bush Variety
If you are worried about not having enough space to grow zucchini, these zucchini growing tips should be helpful. Buy a bush variety of zucchini, and plant that variety in a container. You could also plant the bush variety in the ground, but if you don’t have a lot of space, container gardening can be a big help.
If you do choose to plant your bush zucchini in the ground, you’ll need to plant them in hills that are three feet apart. This is the same distance as with vine zucchini, but the difference is that these grow on a compact shrub, rather than growing out in vines all over the place.
4. Feed Enough
Zucchini need a lot of organic matter in their soil in order to grow, so make sure to till things like compost into the dirt that you want to grow them in. Once the plants are about 3-4 inches tall, give them a fertilizer that has a lot of calcium in it. This is necessary to prevent blossom-end rot, a disease that can result from calcium deficiency.
5. Provide Sun and Warmth
One of the most basic, but most important, tip to grow zucchini is to give your zucchini plenty of sun. Not just part sun, or sun during half of the day, they need true full sun. They also need to be warm (there’s a reason they’re called “summer squash”).
So you shouldn’t plant your zucchini until it’s around 70 degrees every day, with the soil in your garden at 60 degrees or above. You can try to start zucchini seeds inside when it’s still cooler out, but they may suffer transplant shock when you finally get them out in the garden.
If you choose to start them in the soil when it’s still a bit too cool out, cover the ground with fabric or cloches to keep them warm.
6. Add Straw
An easy way to keep your zucchini squashes from rotting because they touch damp soil is to surround them with straw. Not only will this help insulate them on any cooler nights, it’ll provide a helpful barrier between your growing zucchini and the ground.
7. Don’t Harvest Too Late
One of the most important zucchini growing tips is this: don’t wait too long to harvest. While it may be tempting to see how big your zucchini can get, they’re actually tastier when they’re smaller. Around 1 to 1 1/2 feet long is a good harvesting size for the traditional long zucchini varieties.
Also remember to be gentle while harvesting your zucchini. They’re not the sturdiest of vegetables, and can easily be scratched, bruised, or snapped in half if you become too rough with them.
Have you ever tried to grow zucchini before?