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Growing zucchini is popular because zucchinis are one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. Most gardeners can plant a few zucchini seedlings and watch the plants grow rapidly without any issues.
I love zucchinis. Aside from tomatoes, zucchinis are the one vegetable that screams summer to me. I love dicing up zucchini in our stir-fry recipes or making zucchini muffins. So, I want to make sure that our harvest is bountiful. You can (and should) freeze zucchini if it is shredded, so I want to be overran with zucchini.
That usually is what happens. In fact, our crop tends to be so plentiful that I’m begging my parents, family, and friends to take their share as well.
Here are some tips that we use for growing zucchini plants.
1. Plant at the Right Time
Zucchini plants are NOT friends with frost. If you plant your zucchini plants before the threat of frost passes, you risk your entire crop.
Zucchinis don’t even like cold temperatures, but I can’t blame them!
So, that means you have to resist temptation and don’t plant too early. If the fruits form during cold weather, it is unlikely they will grow well.
2. Pick the RIGHT Spot
Once you got the right timing to plant your zucchinis, you have to decided where to plant zucchinis in your yard. The spot you pick needs to receive full sunlight, so that garden bed that is shady because of a large tree is a BAD choice!
It also needs to be an area that is moist and drains well. The site shouldn’t be soggy though! Make sure you add compost and organic matter into the soil you selected for growing zucchini plants.
3. Use Succession Planting
Many people don’t realize that growing zucchini plants are a good option for succession planting because they aren’t frost hardy. When we think of succession planting, we think of plants that grow from spring to fall, not summer loving plants.
Zucchini plants break that mold. These plants grow fast, and you typically can harvest the first fruits 40 to 60 days after planting.
To prevent drowning in zucchinis (which really isn’t a bad thing if you LOVE zucchini), start new plants two or three times each season. That allows you to extend your harvest season. Zucchini plants tend to produce a lot of fruit at one time and then slow down to a halt.
Best of all, you don’t have to start zucchini plants inside. Just pop those seeds into the ground.
4. Plant in Hills
Planting in hills doesn’t mean that you are planting your zucchinis on an actual hill, but it sounds that way. Instead, “hills” refer to a cluster of plants. Gardeners can opt to purchase seedlings or plant zucchini seeds directly into the garden.
Plant a hill of 2 to 3 zucchini plants together. Doing so is important because zucchinis have flowers that must be pollinated to create the fruit you want. Those flowers open for ONE day. Yes, only ONE! If pollination fails, you don’t get any zucchini, and that would be a bummer. Planting several plants together improves the chances of pollination.
5. Understand Zucchini Pollination
So, you now know that the flowers open for one day, but did you know there are male and female flowers on a zucchini plant. Both the male and female flowers open at the same time, but only a female flower creates a fruit. Male flowers are for pollination only.
Sounds like humans, right? You can fry up those squash flowers though, so don’t let the go to waste!
On most new plants, the male flowers tend to set first, and then you are frustrated because your plant is bursting with blossoms without any fruits forming. Don’t fret just yet, especially if you see pollinating insects fluttering around. The female flowers are on the way.
Female flowers have tiny fruits behind the base of the blossom, making them easy to distinguish. If you are worried about your harvest, you can remove the male flowers and pollinate the female flowers yourself.
6. Learn How to Handle Squash Vine Borers
These frustrating pests hide out in winter soil. Some refuse to emerge until June or July. Then, these pesky creatures want to find a place to lay their eggs, and the base of your beautiful squash plants seems like the perfect spot. The larvae will burrow into the stem of your plant an feed.
Soon, your plant stops receiving water through the stem, and it dies off. I’ve had this happen, and it was so frustrating.
To prevent squash vine borers, you can plant your zucchini mid-July, which prevents them from destroying your plants. Make sure that you rotate your crop locations and don’t plant zucchini plants in the same area each year. When you plant your zucchini seedlings, place insect netting to stop the adult vine borers from reaching the plants.
Another cool trick is to wrap aluminum foil around the base of your stem, which stops the larvae from attacking your plants.
7. Mulch Around Your Plants
After the seedlings emerge from the ground and establish themselves, put mulch around the base of your plants. Doing so keeps the weeds are bay, and mulch also helps the soil to retain moisture. Mulch also helps to regulate soil temperatures.
Start Growing Zucchini Plants Now!
Now that you know how to grow zucchini plants, take these tips and get to work. Summer is officially here, and we all want to have fresh zucchini for dinner.