Gardening

How to plant zucchini

Zucchini is the popular name given to some varieties or cultivars of pumpkins whose fruits are harvested and consumed when they are still immature. The vast majority of these varieties are of the species Cucurbita pepo , but there are exceptions. Almost all cultivars of zucchini form clumps that do not spread much.

Zucchinis can be classified as follows:

Zucchini-Italians or Zuchinni – C. pepo – is the most common and most cultivated group of cultivars, whose fruits are cylindrical and do not widen or widen slightly towards the end.

Cocozelle – C. pepo – presents long cylindrical fruits that widen at the end forming a bulb.

Crookneck – C. pepo – presents curved cylindrical fruits, with widening towards the end. They usually have a wrinkled appearance, although it can also be smooth.

Straightneck – C. pepo – presents cylindrical fruits without pronounced curvature, with enlargement towards the end. It may present an external appearance that can range from wrinkled to smooth.

Patty pan or scallop – C. pepo – presents flat or disk-shaped fruits, often with ripples or projections on the side surface.

Round zucchiniC. pepo – presents rounded fruits.

Tromboncino or zucchetta – C. moschata – a variety that produces long curved fruits with a bulbous end. This zucchini has a crawling habit, does not form clump.

Zucchini-round-dark or Zapallito – C. maximum – presents dark green round fruits.

Climate

Zucchini grows best in hot weather, with the ideal average temperature for cultivation being 18 ° C to 27 ° C. The recommended minimum temperature for planting is 15 ° C, as the plant does not support frost and low temperatures.

Brightness

It should preferably be grown in sunny places, but it can be grown in partial shade, as long as there is a high light.

Ground

Cultivate in well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8.

Irrigation

Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist, without being soaked.

Planting

Sow the zucchini seeds at the final location in the garden, placing 2 or 3 seeds per hole at about 2 cm deep, following the spacing recommendation for the cultivar used (usually 0.9 mx 0.9 m to 1 mx 1 ,5 m).

The seeds can also be sown, for example, in large sows, in small pots, plastic bags suitable for seedlings or cups 10 cm high and 5 cm in diameter made with newsprint or other material. The transplant of zucchini seedlings to the garden can be done when the seedlings have at least three definitive leaves.

Some zucchini cultivars can grow well in large pots.

Cultivation

Like other cucurbits, the pumpkins are monoeceae, that is, they are plants that have separate male and female flowers, although each plant has both types of flowers. Male flowers produce pollen and do not form fruit. Female flowers have a lower ovary that resembles a tiny zucchini and it develops in the fruit when the flower is pollinated.

The presence of pollinating insects, mainly bees, is necessary for the pollination of flowers and the formation of fruits. If there are no bees and there is no fruit formation, pollinate the flowers manually with the help of a small brush with soft bristles, transferring pollen from male flowers to female flowers. Another alternative is to pick some male flowers and lightly rub the pollen-laden anthers of these flowers on the stigma of female flowers.

When flowering begins, only male flowers appear. The female flowers begin to appear well afterwards (from two weeks to a month or more). High temperatures and long days increase the proportion of male flowers, which however are always more numerous than female flowers. The flowers open only for a few hours in the early morning.

Harvest

Harvesting zucchini can begin 45 to 80 days after planting, depending on the cultivar and cultivation conditions. Harvest the zucchini when well developed, but still immature (the appropriate size for the harvest varies with the cultivar).

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