How To Grow Loads Of Delicious Zucchini–The Most Versatile Garden Veggie Ever

Learn the best methods for planting, protecting, harvesting, and eating this summer squash.

June 12, 2017
how to grow zucchini
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You're probably well aware of how productive this summer squash can be. Once it takes off, it just doesn't stop producing. You can do lots of things with zucchini, though—cook and serve it in casseroles, slice it up and add it to pancakes, make a low carb alternative to pasta (helloooo, zoodles!), or bake zucchini bread.

Here's exactly what you need to know to grow your best crop of zucchini yet, plus some absolutely delicous ways to eat it.

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(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Planting

Zucchini likes well-drained, fertile soil that's been amended with lots of compost. Plant seed outdoors when the soil temperature has reached 60°F—about a week after the last frost. You want to give your squash a lot of room to spread out and grow. Plant them about 3 to 4 feet apart in rows 8 to 12 feet apart. If space is limited, put up a trellis for vertical support. 

Related: Make This Delicious Pad Thai Chicken Zoodle Bowl

Watering and Fertilizing

Zucchini like consistently moist soil. To prevent problems with disease, always water from below. Spray plants with compost tea two weeks after seedlings come up. Spray again in three weeks or when the first flowers appear. 

Related: Make These Zucchini And Sweet Potato Latkes

Pests and Diseases 

Pale to brown blotches on leaves are the work of squash bugs. Squash vine borers cause plants to wilt suddenly. (Here's the best way to protect squash from nasty bugs.)

Powdery mildew may strike the plants, leaving whitish powdery spots on leaves that turn brown and dry. (Here's how to prevent and treat powdery mildew.)  

Plants that wilt and ooze a sticky sap when cut may be infected with bacterial wilt, which is spread by cucumber beetles. (Here's how to control pesky cucumber beetles in your garden.)

Harvesting 

Harvest zucchini when the fruits are still small—about 4 inches long. Picking zucchinis regularly as they reach maturity promotes more squash production. If your plants are super productive, then you'll want to switch up your cooking methods (a person can only take so much sauteed zucchini, after all). Try turning your zucchinis into zoodles, fritters, veggie burgers, and even chocolate cake! (Here are 7 recipes that will reinvent the way you eat zucchini.)

 

Fun fact: You can eat the zucchini flowers too! Enjoy them in salads, serve them over pasta, or even try them fried.

You can store zucchini in the refrigerator for about a week. 

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