UM Organic Community Garden

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University of Montevallo Organic Community Garden

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Summer

Planting Zucchini and Growing Tips


zucchini-squash


Growing zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) in a garden is very popular. This is because planting zucchini is easy and a zucchini plant can produce large amounts of delicious squash. Let’s take a look at how to plant zucchini and grow zucchini squash in your garden.

How to Plant Zucchini

When planting zucchini, you can plant them either as individual plants or grouped on hills. How you grow zucchini squash is up to you, based on how many zucchini plants you intend to grow and how much room you have to grow them.

Individual Zucchini Plants

After the chance of frost has passed, plant 2-3 seeds 36 inches apart. The seeds should be planted about an inch deep. Thin to one plant per spot once the seeds have sprouted and have grown their first set of true leaves.

Zucchini Plants on a Hill

After the chance of frost has passed, mound up soil about 6 – 12 inches high and 12 – 24 inches wide. On the top of the hill, in a circle, plant 4 – 5 zucchini seeds. Thin the seedlings down to 2 – 3 per hill once the seedlings have their first set of true leaves.

You can also start zucchini indoors in order to get a head start on the season. Start zucchini seeds indoors 4 – 6 weeks before the last from date and plant out in the garden after all chances of frost have passed.

Information on Growing Zucchini

Once seedlings are established, mulch around the plants. Mulching helps to keep the ground temperature stable and also helps the soil retain water. These two things will help the zucchini plant have an earlier and larger crop.

Make sure that your zucchini plants get at least 2 inches of water a week. If you do not receive enough rainfall to do this, supplement with manual watering. Use a soaker hose or other method to water the plants below their leaves. Watering using a sprinkler can cause the zucchini plants to develop powdery mildew.

Harvest zucchini squash when the fruits are small. This will result in a more tender and flavorful squash.

Growing zucchini in your garden is fun and easy. Now that you know how to plant zucchini and some tips on growing it well, you can grow zucchini squash in your garden with ease.

By Heather Rhoades

The zucchini plant is one of the most common vegetables grown in the home garden. One of the reasons is because it is relatively easy to grow. But just because it is easy to grow does not mean that the zucchini is without its problems. Many people have problems growing zucchini. Let’s take a look at a few of these problems and how to fix them.

Zucchini Pests & Insects

One of the most common zucchini problems is with zucchini pests. The zucchini plant basically looks like a buffet table to a great many insects and bugs. Some common zucchini pests include:

  • cutworms
  • cucumber beetles
  • squash bugs
  • vine borers
  • spider mites
  • aphids
  • whiteflies


  • Most zucchini pests can be controlled with regular applications of insecticidal soap or pesticides. Since these different pests can affect the zucchini plant at different times in the growing cycle, it is best to start a pest control regimen as soon as the zucchini plant is in the ground to avoid these pest problems on growing zucchini.

    Zucchini Diseases

    A zucchini plant is also susceptible to a wide variety of diseases. These include zucchini powdery mildew, bacterial wilt, downy mildew, yellow mosaic virus, and botrytis blight.

    Once the zucchini plant is infected with any of these disease problems, it is nearly always fatal to the zucchini plant. So, the best way to fix disease problems on growing zucchini is to just make sure that the zucchini plant does not get them in the first place.

    This can be done mostly through appropriate care of the zucchini plant. Making sure that the plant gets plenty of sun, the right about of water every week, avoiding top watering and good air flow through proper spacing of plants will go a long way towards helping the plant fend off many of these diseases. Also, keeping common zucchini pests away from the plant will help curb the diseases that these insects often carry with them.

    Zucchini Blossoms Falling Off Plant

    While many people think that their zucchini has a problem because the blossoms are mysteriously falling off the plant, this is actually not the case. This is very normal for zucchini plants and is part of its development process. Read this article for more information about why do zucchini blossoms fall off the plant.

    The Ends of the Zucchini Rot or Get Soft

    If the ends of your zucchini get soft before they are fully grown, this is caused by Squash Blossom End Rot and is a symptom of a calcium deficiency. Read this article on “Squash Blossom End Rot Causes And Treatment” for more information.

    A type of summer squash, zucchini is a staple in backyard vegetable gardens. Zucchini has a thin, edible green skin, creamy white flesh and soft seeds. Shaped somewhat like a cucumber, it can vary from just 4 or 5 inches to a foot in length, with a diameter up to 2 inches. A versatile food you can eat raw or cooked and even use in baked goods, zucchini is nutrient-dense and very good for your overall health.

    Basic Nutrition

    Summer squash is 95 percent water, making it naturally low in calories and a good choice if you are trying to lose weight. A medium zucchini, for example, contains just 33 calories. It supplies a gram of protein and less than a gram of fat. The same size zucchini contains 6 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of which are dietary fiber. That makes zucchini a low-glycemic food that will not spike your blood sugar, but will instead provide a steady source of glucose to your system.

    Vitamins

    Zucchini is an excellent source of two antioxidant vitamins that help boost immunity and support healthy aging. A medium vegetable supplies 35 milligrams of vitamin C, or between 39 and 46 percent of the recommended daily allowance for adults. Zucchini is also rich in vitamin A, providing 392 international units in a medium-sized vegetable, or between 13 and 17 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults.

    Potassium

    Potassium is one of the principal electrolytes in your body needed in proper balance with sodium in a ratio of 2 to 1. With its emphasis on processed foods, the standard American diet tends to be higher in sodium than potassium, which leads to high blood pressure. Zucchini is a good source of potassium, with a medium vegetable supplying 512 milligrams, or 11 percent of your daily needs.


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