Growing & Watering Zucchini in Florida
Zucchini is considered a summer squash and grows in bush form, rather than a vine. Zucchini is very easy to grow in all areas of Florida, however, production may be limited in the hotter areas in mid-summer. In Florida, a regular watering routine will help the plants to thrive. That said, zucchini is a prolific producer and only a few plants are necessary to feed a family. Growers at the University of Florida suggest that you plant the zucchini in the fall and spring in all areas of Florida. Southern Florida gardeners can add winter to their planting schedule. Make sure that the area in which you plant the zucchini receives at least six hours of sun per day.
Perform a soil pH test using either a home testing kit or by delivering a soil sample to your county cooperative extension office. Ideally, your soil pH should be between 5.5 and 7.0. If the pH is below 5.5 you will need to add lime to the soil and then wait a week prior to planting.
Improve the planting site by aerating the soil and adding soil amendments. Master Gardeners at Florida State University claim that most Florida soils will benefit from this procedure. Use the gardening fork to dig up the planting area, to a depth of eight inches, turning the soil and crushing any clumps of soil that are larger than your fist.
Pour 25 to 100 pounds of well-rotted manure per 100 square feet over the planting area. Use the gardening fork to mix it in well, to a depth of eight inches. If your soil pH test indicates a need for lime, add two to three pounds of ground dolomitic limestone per 100 square feet. Master Gardeners with Florida State University state that this amount will raise the pH one point. Remember to wait one to two weeks after adding lime to plant your zucchini.
Add fertilizer to the soil. Florida gardens generally benefit from the addition of commercial fertilizers such as 10-10-10 applied at a rate of one to two pounds per 100 square feet of gardening space, according to the university. Mix this into the amended soil to a depth of four inches.Rake the surface of the zucchini planting bed until it is smooth and level.
Space seeds or starter plants 24 inches apart. Seeds should be planted one inch deep and the starter plants should be planted at the same depth as the pot in which they are growing.
Water the planting area to a depth of four inches and then water every two to three days. In mid-summer in Florida, you may need to water more frequently, depending upon how hot it is. Although zucchini don't require a lot of water, the soil should be kept consistently moist until germination. Avoid getting water on the leaves of the plant by using a soaker hose that will provide water to the root area slowly and deeply.
Side-dress the zucchini plants with fertilizer during the growing season. Side-dressing is a fertilizer application method that involves digging a two-inch trench three inches to the side of the plant, sprinkling it with the required amount of fertilizer and then covering the trench with soil. Water the area well after side-dressing. The University of Florida suggests using two ounces of fertilizer per row of zucchini plants twice during the growing season.
Good bee activity for pollination is required.
Midsummer is usually not a good time for the plant to produce.
Weed control, turning over the soil, planting in season and rotating the type of vegetable planted in an area all contribute to pest control.
Fertilizer can contain harmful chemicals. Read and follow all label directions.
- Good bee activity for pollination is required.
- Midsummer is usually not a good time for the plant to produce.
- Weed control, turning over the soil, planting in season and rotating the type of vegetable planted in an area all contribute to pest control.
- Fertilizer can contain harmful chemicals. Read and follow all label directions.
- Gardening fork
- Well-rotted manure
- Lime (optional)