image by ..matt../Flickr.com
Zucchini is a very popular summer squash that can be grown in backyard gardens all over the country. It is easy to grow, a very productive plant can supply many delicious fruits. Harvested zucchini can be eaten raw, cooked, or shredded and added to a number of baked goods. The beautiful flower also can be eaten. New gardeners can hardly go wrong with growing zucchini and seasoned gardeners cannot get enough of it.
Select a planting area that provides full sun for best results. The soil needs to be rich and well-drained. Plant at least one week after the season's last frost.
Provide enough room to place the zucchini plants 2 to 4 feet apart. Leave 8 to 12 feet between rows. The plants spread out over a large area and each will produce many zucchini, so do not overplant.
Use a shovel to add peat, organic compost and well-rotted manure to the soil. Utilize either a rototiller or hoe to cultivate this into the soil at a depth of 12 inches.
Make a hole in the soil ½-inch deep with your gloved finger. Place a seed in the hole. Cover with dirt.
Supply at least 1 inch of water a week during the growing season. If rainfall is less this, a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose works well and helps in the prevention of disease.
Watch for the zucchini plants to blossom and then fruit. Pick when the size is adequate, about 3 to 4 inches wide and 4 to 6 inches long, and before they become too large.
Use pruning shears to cut zucchini from plants. Be careful not to damage the plant or freshly picked fruit.