In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing Zucchini at home.
Quick Guide Information
Common Name: Zucchini
Scientific Name: Cucurbita pepo
Life Span: Annual
Time Till Harvest: 60-90 days
Light Requirement: Full Sun
Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.0
Not many vegetables are as versatile as Zucchini. They can be cooked in just about any type of dish, or just roasted on their own, and they taste delicious! Having them in your garden is an absolute treat, as the plants are resilient, productive, and extremely fast growing. There are also many heirloom varieties you can have in your garden that you cannot find in a grocery store. You also have the option to harvest them at various stages of their growth, providing a diversity of textures and flavors from a single plant.
Zucchinis are in the cucumber family and are planted in a very similar way to their relatives. Unlike their relatives though, Zucchinis tend to sprawl out less and stay confined to their planting zone. This being said, some varieties can spread out under the right conditions and even be trained onto trellises.
Zucchini likes to grow in full sun although they can handle partial shade with no problem. They prefer fertile soil that has good drainage. Consider amending heavily with compost and other fertile materials to improve your yield.
Zucchini should be planted after the last threat of frost once soil temperatures reach above 20C. They can alternatively be started indoors or in shelter areas in pots and transplanted later in the season. Plant seeds 5 cm deep and about 60-80 cm apart. You can sow 3-4 seeds close to each other to ensure germination and then thin out the less vigorous ones of the bunch. Germination takes about one week. Alternatively, Zucchini can also be grown in large 15-20 litre containers.
Planting and Maintenance
Zucchini doesn’t require much maintenance as it is pretty vigorous on its own. You can top dress worm castings every 3-4 weeks and water them in to ensure your plant has plenty of readily available nutrients. Irrigate regularly but avoid wetting the leaves to avoid the proliferation of disease. You can remove unhealthy and diseased foliage by cutting it with sharp clippers or a knife.
Blossom End Rot - This is rot that occurs on the tip of the fruit as it is developing. This is typically caused by calcium deficiencies or waterlogging of the soil.
Mildew - Powdery or Downy mildew occurs on Zucchini as the plants become old. This is not unusual and just happens as the plant loses its vigor. Warm and humid weather or excessive shade can also cause this. Consider removing excessive foliage and increasing sunlight by cutting back any surrounding vegetation.
No Fruit - This typically happens due to lack of pollination. It is best to plant several plants close together to ensure there is a greater chance of pollination.