Zucchini is a summer squash that most gardeners include in their growing landscapes. Whether you harvest zucchini for savory dishes or for use in desserts or quick breads, zucchini has earned its rightful place as a popular and useful summer vegetable. Once the summer is in full swing and the plants are large, zucchinis will grow quickly. Keep the zucchinis from getting too big by visiting the zucchini patch every day to find and harvest the tasty vegetables.
Maintain the zucchini plants carefully throughout the growing season to ensure a bountiful zucchini crop. Lay down 1 inch of mulch around the plants to keep weeds to a minimum, and keep the soil moist. Water the zucchini plants with at least 1 inch of water every week if rain does not fall.
Watch for the blossoms to appear on the plants. The female flowers are the blooms that will turn into zucchinis. Differentiate between the male and female flowers by the stems. The female blooms have thicker stems, and the male blooms have thinner stems. If you want to harvest blossoms for eating, harvest the male blossoms. Be sure to leave at least one male blossom on each plant, however, so that the plant can pollinate.
Check the plants for zucchinis every day after the plants have blossomed. Wear gloves because the leaves and stems of the zucchini plant are sharp. Lift the leaves, and look carefully around the base of the plants because zucchini can hide under the plants.
Harvest the zucchinis when the vegetables are 6 inches long and 2 inches wide for optimal flavor. Grasp a ripe zucchini in your gloved hand, and cut the vegetable from the vine with the utility knife.
Keep unwashed zucchini for up to one week at room temperature or four days in the refrigerator.