Zucchini is a versatile vegetable in that it can be used in recipes for appetizers, side dishes and desserts. While zucchini is available year-round in grocery stores, the best time to capture the full flavor of this healthy vegetable is in late spring and early summer when fresh zucchini begin to produce. One zucchini plant can easily provide for a family of four and when proper care is taken, even greater yields can be expected.
Test the pH levels of the soil. Although zucchini will grow in almost every type of soil, pH values that are considerably off could be indicators of other soil issues. Test kits are available at gardening centers, inexpensive and simple to do.
Add either organic compost, lime or an organic fertilizer containing a 5:10:5 ratio to optimize the soil, prior to planting zucchini. The pH test will indicate what the soil needs to improve soil conditions to support plant growth.
Prepare the garden area to ensure zucchini have loosely conditioned, well draining soil. The area may require rocks or debris to be removed, tilling to bust dirt clumps and compost added to improve the texture of the soil. Since zucchini roots grow shallow, this allows the roots to grow without obstruction, improves absorption and soil aeration.
Plant zucchini after all danger of frost has passed. Zucchini are easy to grow once they become established; however, tender young seedlings prefer warm soil and slightly warm temperatures. Young zucchini plants are often devastated by frosty temperatures; planting after the threat of frost and cool temperatures eliminates the threat of frost damaged plants.
Apply organic compost around the zucchini plant in a 1 to 2 foot radius. This will help control weeds and maintain moisture.
Observe zucchini plants for blooms. Once they begin blooming watch daily for zucchini growth. Zucchini grow very quickly and in some cases must be harvested daily.
Harvest zucchini as soon as the vegetables are 6 to 8 inches in length. When harvesting, use a sharp knife and cut the zucchini from the stem, making a clean cut without disturbing adjacent leaves or stems.
Things You Will Need
- PH test kit
- Organic compost
- Fertilizer (5:10:5)
- Sharp knife
- The more you harvest zucchini, the more prolific they are. Remove any zucchini that have become overgrown to encourage continued production.
- Using excessive fertilizer to attain an abundant yield will only serve to increase the size of the zucchini plant.
- If you don't know the best time to plant zucchini for your area, refer to the National Gardening Association's Planting Zone Guide. All you have to do is enter your zip code to see what planting zone you are located in.