When it comes to growing the best zucchini around – and a lot of it – a few simple planting and harvesting tips can definitely help pave the way to a deliciously tasty and overly fruitful harvest!
Zucchini has long been a mainstay crop in the backyard garden. But in recent years, it has exploded as more and more people discover its nutritional super power as a vegetable.
Zucchini is low in fat, sugar and calories. It not only contains potassium, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids, it also happens to be a great source of fiber in the diet. In addition, it is prized for its high levels of anti-oxidants as well.
In fact, add vitamins A,B & C, plus potassium and magnesium, and zucchini really is a true super food. But what is really fueling the new love for this old-time garden staple is its amazing versatility in the kitchen.
No longer is it just about making the same old bread from oversized zucchini from the garden. Instead, it’s about growing and picking tender zucchini to make mouth-watering stir fries, grilled vegetables, zucchini noodles, tarts, wraps and more!
How To Grow The Best Tasting Zucchini Around
So what does it take to grow a bumper crop of deliciously tender zucchini? Actually, armed with just three simple planting, growing and harvesting tips – it’s far easier than you might ever imagine.
With that in mind, here are a few secrets to getting the most from your zucchini plants from start to finish. Not just for large yields, but to grow the best tasting zucchini around too!
3 Simple Tips To Grow The Best Tasting Zucchini Around!
#1) Plant Seeds – Not Transplants
One of the best secrets of all for growing healthy, productive zucchini plants is to always plant from seed, and not from transplants.
Here is the good news, zucchini is one vegetable seed that can germinate quickly. Especially when planted into warm, fertile soil. They will grow so fast in these conditions, there is simply no need to use transplants. In fact, seeds planted in warm soil will often catch up and pass transplants in mere weeks!
Unlike tomato and pepper plants, zucchini doesn’t always handle the process of transplanting well. It’s roots often struggle to grow out and re-establish in the new planting hole. Instead, the roots often stop growing outward, and instead weave back to become root bound.
For best results, wait until your soil has warmed to at least 60 to 65° (F) before planting your seeds. Use a soil thermometer to check if unsure. Remember that a few days of warm weather does not mean your soil warms as quickly.
Unfortunately, seeds planted in cool soil and weather will lag behind those planted once it is warm. They also have a great chance of rotting or damping off.
Grow Varieties Bred For Flavor – How To Grow The Best Zucchini
The old saying “plant the best to harvest the best” applies big-time with zucchini. Be sure to select varieties for planting that are proven to have great flavor, high production, and good disease resistance.
Remember also that there are different varieties for different needs. One of the best to grow for tenderness for all kinds of stir fry’s and dishes is Black Beauty. Going from seed to harvest in as little as 50 days, it is an early producer.
This old standby has been around since the early 1900’s, and is known for its dark green skin and tender flesh. Black Beauty’s flesh is firm and its flavor is exceptional, especially when it is picked young. Product Link : Black Beauty Zucchini Seeds
If you like to stuff zucchini or want to grow a really unique variety that will turn heads, try either the Baby Round or Eight Ball varieties. These softball-shaped fruits are great for stuffing and filling – and look great on the table! Seed Link : Eight Ball Seeds
#2 Planting For Success – How To Grow The Best Zucchini!
Although success starts with selecting a great zucchini variety to grow, how you plant that variety can make a huge difference in the flavor, texture and quantity of the fruit it produces.
For starters, to grow well, zucchini need full sun, fertile soil and frequent water. But beyond those three simple keys, your planting height and mulch can also make a big difference.
Plant zucchini on slightly raised mounds and not on flat garden soil. The slight mounds are critical for keeping the main zucchini stems from sitting in a pool of water. When this happens, it usually spells disaster for the plant.
Although zucchini require a lot of water (1 to 2 inches of rainfall or hand watering per week), the plant’s main stem does not like to sit in water.
Plant seeds about 1 inch deep in mounds that around 6 to 8 inches high. The mounds should be about 12 to 15 inches wide in diameter. Plant 3 to 4 seeds per hill, thinning to the strongest single plant once the seeds have sprouted. The mound will keep the main stem off the ground and out of harms way.
To complete your planting success, don’t forget to mulch! Placing a 3 to 4 inch layer of straw down on the soil will help keep competing weeds out, and protect the fruit as it begins to form. (Also check out: How To Plant Zucchini With Ease In Straw Bales!)
The straw helps keep the skins of the zucchini fruits from touching bare or wet soil. Both can blemish the fruit, and even cause it to rot if there is too much moisture.
#3 Harvest Early! How To Grow The Best Zucchini Around
Finally, when it comes to incredible flavor, it all comes down to harvesting your zucchini at the right time!
In fact, the biggest secret of all when it comes to growing tender zucchini is to know when and how to harvest your crop. The when matters for tenderness and flavor. Meanwhile, the how determines just how long your zucchini will stay fresh after picking!
Let’s first talk about when to harvest. The key here is to harvest early and often! Zucchini can go from a slender, incredibly firm and tender fruit to a woody, seed-filled monstrosity in as little as two days.
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make when harvesting zucchini is to allow the fruit to remain on the vine too long. For maximum flavor and tenderness, harvest zucchini when it is no larger than 6 to 8 inches in length.
At this length, the seed core of zucchini remains small. Because of that, the majority of the fruit is filled with tasty flesh, making it perfect for all kinds of culinary uses.
How To Harvest – Cut, Don’t Twist! How To Grow The Best Zucchini
Last but not least, use a knife to harvest your zucchini, not your hands. Although many gardeners will simply twist the fruit to snap it from the plant, this is never a good idea.
By cutting the fruit back, you can prevent snapping other branches, or more importantly, keep the fruit from getting damaged. You can also keep other flowers from being knocked from the plant, and keeping the harvest in tact.
Here is to growing the best zucchini around this year, and enjoying delicious flavor all summer long! Happy Gardening, Jim and Mary.
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