Growing Zucchini and Summer Squash
Zucchini and summer squash are a summer staple in the garden and on the table! These versatile veggies may be enjoyed raw, grilled, fried, sauteed, roasted, and baked. They may be added to both sweet and savory culinary delights. To boot, they are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Grow them yourself, and you can have an endless supply all summer long.
We recommend some of our favorite tried and true selections when purchasing seeds.
Multipik – a straightneck bush plant with a high yield and long harvest time.
Tempest – a crookneck with a rich nutty flavor with a firm texture.
Yellow Crookneck – a buttery flavor and firm texture; pick at 4 – 5 inches long.
Safari – a green zucchini with white stripes, attractive and prolific yielder.
Raven – very dark green, concentrated fruit set, should be succession planted.
Yellowfin – a bright yellow zucchini, very productive.
Zucchini and summer squash are delightful vegetables to grow as they are easy enough for the beginner vegetable gardener.
The first step is ensuring you have the right environment for them – they need around 6 hours of direct sunlight daily and good soil that’s well-draining. A protected location, sheltered from the wind, is also advisable as it will assist in pollination. There is no need to start your plants indoors as both these veggies germinate easily and quickly and do not like being transplanted. They are best directly seeded into the garden after all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plant zucchini and summer squash into the ground, in a container, or in a raised bed. Both are heavy feeders, so amending your in-ground garden soil with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region] before sowing is the best way to start and keep your plants healthy and happy. If you’re in the Eastern & Midwestern Regions, you may fill your raised bed with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder. If you plan to grow your zucchini and summer squash in containers, Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Potting Soil [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region] is your best choice as it is lightweight. If you are unsure how much soil you need, our handy soil calculators will help you determine the optimal amount.
Sow three seeds about 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart when planting. In the ground and in raised beds, rows should be 3 feet apart. Black plastic mulch will help warm garden soil more quickly. Raised beds and containers will warm up quickly on their own and do not require this step. A soil thermometer is a helpful tool in determining soil warmth.
Zucchini and summer squash lend themselves to succession planting. Sow seeds every two to three weeks, ceasing in mid-summer, and you will have a continuous supply of these delicious veggies up until frost. Succession planting will also improve pollination, helping the squash plants to produce more abundantly and have bigger and tastier fruit.
Zucchini and summer squash are easy-care vegetable plants.
- Water thoroughly after planting and keep the soil moist but not soggy throughout their growing season.
- Once the plants are established, you’ll need to feed them regularly. Fertilize every two weeks with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food.
- Keep weeds in check and mulch around the plants to retain moisture, discourage weeds, and prevent soilborne diseases. Salt hay or straw are recommended if black plastic mulch is not used.
Harvest zucchini and summer squash when fruits reach their mature size; typically, this is between 4-8 inches long, although some varieties can grow to 12 inches or more! Cut fruits off their stems with sharp scissors or a knife – never pull on them, as this can damage the plant. Check your plants daily for ripe fruits since they can quickly become oversized if left on the vine for too long.
Growing zucchini and summer squash is an easy garden chore that yields delicious fruits to enjoy all season long.