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How to Plant & Care for Zucchini

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How to Plant & Care for Zucchini

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Overview

Zucchini are a prolific summer squash that are enjoyed fresh or cooked. Excess zucchini can be pickled, canned or frozen for future use. The zucchini blossoms are also a delicacy, often prepared battered and fried. A few plants will supply a family and friends with zucchini and blossoms. Plant zucchini after the last frost date in the spring through midsummer. Sow seeds directly into soil that has warmed to 70 degrees. Seeds sown indoors do not transplant well and often don't survive. In cold areas, cover the soil with black plastic mulch for early planting. The black plastic will warm the soil and allow earlier germination.

Step 1

Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Dig or till the soil to loosen it.

Step 2

Add a 2-inch layer of composted manure to the garden and mix into the top 6 inches of soil.

Step 3

Plant zucchini seeds in hills spaced 48 inches apart, four to five seeds per hill. Plant seeds at a depth of 2 inches.

Step 4

Water seeds after planting and keep the soil moist until plants germinate. Continue watering zucchini thoroughly as needed to prevent the soil from drying out. Zucchini needs at least 1 inch of water a week.

Step 5

Thin plants to one or two plants per hill when plants are 2 to 3 inches tall.

Step 6

Apply a side-dressing of high-nitrogen fertilizer midsummer. Apply 1/2 cup of 46-0-0 per 25-foot row.

Step 7

Harvest zucchini when they are small and tender, between 2 to 6 inches long. Leaving the squash on the plant too long will discourage future fruiting. Check plants daily; zucchini grow rapidly. Cut zucchini and blossoms mid-day, when plants are dry.

Step 8

Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stem just above the fruit. Squash blossoms can be cut leaving 1 inch of stem attached. Cut only male flowers unless you intend to limit fruit production. Do not harvest during wet weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Zucchini seeds
  • Tiller or shovel
  • Trowel
  • Sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Gloves (optional)

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow- Summer Squash
  • University of Minnesota: Growing Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Squash and Pumpkins in the Home Garden
Keywords: plant zucchini, zucchini care, grow zucchini squash

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.

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