Beginner’s Guide to Planting Zucchini
Planting zucchini is a very rewarding project—especially when you can cook up the “fruits” of your own labor! Zucchini is a very prolific producer but it also happens to be fairly easy to pull off in your own garden. Even if you have never planted a crop in your life, you will find that this particular squash is actually a pleasure to grow. Read on as we take you through the process of planting zucchini in this step by step guide.
Selecting a Growing Area
As mentioned earlier, zucchini is a prolific grower, so each plant that you grow is going to need some space to spread out. A good rule to go by is to space each zucchini plant about three feet apart. It is also typically planted in rows or hills. If you plan on doing multiple rows then attempt to space each row about three or four feet apart. The area that you choose to plant your zucchini in should also have plenty of sunlight. Try to find an area that also has good drainage. This means that the area should not allow water to pool, such as a dip in the ground or a ditch. If you have trouble finding an area that gets good drainage, you might want to consider creating a raised dirt bed. You can do this by using a shovel (or a mini digger if you need to cover a larger area) and piling the soil into a large mound. Work the soil with the shovel and pack it down until it flattens down into the appropriate size for your zucchini plants. Many people use wooden beams or treated logs to border this area and keep it nice and tidy.
Planting should be done after the threat of frost has gone and the soil has had a chance to warm up a bit. This is usually sometime around April, although it may be a little different in your area. Use a trowel or small shovel to shape the earth into a mound. Each group of seeds should be planted about three inches deep into the mound and about two and a half feet apart. To plant the seeds, use your finger to make a 3 inch-deep hole in the soil. Drop four seeds inside and scoop the soil over them, packing it slightly down. After all of your seeds have been planted, water the soil well. Take care not to overwater it, though, because this could keep the seed from germinating properly. If your area doesn’t receive any rain, go ahead and water the plants every two days or so—at least for the first two weeks or so.
After a few weeks, you should see your zucchini plants sprouting up. Now is the time to thin them out. Do this by removing the weakest plants from the soil. Leave one or two plants or every three feet of soil. After the plants have been thinned, there really is no need to continue watering them unless the weather turns hot and dry for a long period of time. In this case, you should water the soil deeply but allow the top of it to dry out between watering. To test if the soil is ready to be watered, stick your finger down to the first knuckle. If it is dry to the touch, then it is ready to be watered.
Harvesting the Squash
Once you notice the zucchini squash sprouting on your plants, you’ll be itching to start harvesting them! The zucchini should be picked when they are about four to six inches long. They should be tender when squeezed. Zucchini left on the plant will continue to grow to monstrous sizes, however their flavor tends to become bland, less enjoyable, and a bit tougher. In fact, the peel might need to be cut away due to toughness.
Planting zucchini is certainly not rocket science. Give it a try and you may find that you have a green thumb after all!