Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vegetable Planting: Growing Zucchini & Squash Vegetables

Growing squash is possible and easy at any time of the year. However, growing zucchini (which is one of the fast growing summer squash vegetables) requires vegetable planting following a few specifications.

Zucchini Squash Growing In Summer

Summer is a good time for planting zucchini as zucchini squash grows best in warm soil. When the soil temperature reaches 60?F (or 16?C) the seeds should be sown. This vegetable planting requires full sunlight and an airy environment. A second round of planting squash in mid-summer will ensure a stock lasting till fall. The plants are harvested within 45-60 days while they are still immature and tender.

Gardening Care When Planting Zucchini and Squash

  • Zucchini squash spreads really quickly and one must cautiously plant a few seeds about 3″ deep in the ground and space them out four or five per hill or in clusters with 2-3″ between them.
  • The smaller the zucchini, the better it is generally.
  • Enough water and the right watering technique is important. Moderately rich soil that drains well will suffice for growing courgettes (another name for zucchini squash). One may further enrich the soil by adding fertilizers.
  • Mounds should be created for each zucchini plant. Once they have grown 2-3″ tall, the zucchini squash saplings should be thinned to 1-2 plants per hill by choosing the better plants.
  • Stakes should be used while growing zucchini to support the delicate plant.
  • Zucchini is also susceptible to frost so a perfect summer will be good for growing these squash vegetables.

Disease Prevention For Squash Vegetables Growing

If the weather becomes too hot and humid and as the squash vegetables age and weaken, they become susceptible to various kinds of diseases.

  • If there are any bugs in your garden you want them to be the good kind of bugs. The plant must be watched closely for pests like cucumber beetles, squash bugs and squash vine borers. While the cucumber beetles can spread easily from one plant to the other, the squash vine borers chew into the base of the stem, cutting off the vine circulation.
  • Blossom End Rot may also occur if the soil is too acidic or there is lack of calcium. A careful application of quicklime will solve this problem.
  • Zucchini plants are also very susceptible to bacterial and fungal diseases like powdery mildew and bacterial wilt. At the first hint of trouble the zucchini squash should be treated with fungicide.

Tips For Growing Courgettes, Zucchini and Squash

  • A good zucchini squash is heavy for its size because it is filled with moisture and has a firm, even texture with no sunken spots.
  • Zucchini readily cross breeds with other members of the cucurbita (or pumpkin) family of which it is a part if seeds are stored. Interesting variations may sometimes be produced after planting zucchini!
  • A few handfuls of dolomite lime in the soil while planting zucchini will provide calcium and prevent rotting.
  • Both male and female blossoms of the plant should be present for pollination to occur.
  • Use caution while harvesting the vines as they contain prickly leaves.

Since growing zucchini is relatively simple and a few seeds yield many squash vegetables, it is one of the most popularly grown vegetables by amateur and seasoned gardeners alike.