The Art of Growing Zucchini

The Zucchini Squash is closely related to the Pumpkin family!  Seems to grow rather differently though.

Summer squash come in a variety of shapes and colors. Bush varieties take up relatively little space, and if kept picked will keep producing right up to frost.

Botanically speaking, Zucchini is the immature fruit, or swollen ovary of the female Zucchini flower.

Honestly, growing Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Don’t plant too much or you will be forced to participate in the annual Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night.

Before moving on to our Zucchini Growing notes, check out our Zucchini Germination FAQS, which takes you through the details of how long it takes to grow Zucchini.

Growing Notes – Go and Grow some Huge Zucchinis

Prefers well-drained, fertile, loose soil, high in organic matter with pH between 5.8 and 6.8. Plentiful and consistent moisture is needed from the time plants emerge until fruits begin to fill out.  Most summer squash grow on compact vines, in contrast to the sprawling vines of most winter squash and pumpkins.

Where to Plant Your Zucchini Patch

Squash like warm soil and are very sensitive to frost. So don’t be in a rush to plant early in spring. Wait until danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed to about 70 F, or about 2 weeks after the last frost date.

Planting Your Zucchini Seeds – How Deep?

Direct seed ½ to 1 inch deep into hills (which warm and drain earlier in the season) or rows. Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hill. Space hills 3 to 4 feet apart. When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill by snipping off unwanted plants without disturbing the roots of the remaining ones. In rows, sow seeds 4 inches apart in rows 4 to 5 feet apart. Snip off plants to thin to one plant every 12 to 24 inches.

Mulching plants helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. Mounding soil around the base of the plants can discourage squash borers from laying eggs.

Planting  Zucchini Early

For extra early crops, start inside in 2- to 3-inch pots or cells 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting outside. Sow 3 or 4 seeds per pot and thin to one or two plants by snipping off the weaker plants to avoid damaging the roots of those that remain. Harden off by cutting back on water and reducing temperature before transplanting. Plant transplants out in the garden about 1 to 2 feet apart after all danger of frost has passed.

To hasten first harvest by as much as 2 weeks, use black plastic mulch to warm soil before direct seeding or transplanting. Early fruits are sometimes wrinkled, turn black or rot due to poor pollination.

End of Season

At the end of the season, remove or till in vines to reduce mildew. Use row covers to protect plants early in the season and to prevent insect problems. Remove cover before flowering to allow pollination by insects or when hot weather arrives.

The Details of growing Zucchini Squash

Being a warm season crop,  Zucchini grows well in temperate climates.  It is conveniently a short-season crop compared to other Cucurbit fruits like cucumbers. Generally, Zucchini plants can withstand temperatures between 60 and 100 degrees.

The male to female ratio of Zucchini flowers on a plant is at least three to one. Only the female flowers give off fruit and bees are the primary pollinators.   Lets go bees! 

Botanical Zucchini Photo

Return to the home of the Big Zucchini.