Zucchini Cucurbitaceae, Cucurbita
Place of origin: Mexico
Optimal temperatures for germination 75-82℉ (25-28℃)
Optimal temperatures for plant growth 65-80℉ (18-27℃)
※Cucurbita pepo has a wide range of the temperatures proper for plant growth, compared to other types of squash.
Characteristics Scientific name: Cucurbita pepo
Zucchini is a type of squash that grows without vines. It most likely originated somewhere in the American Northwest and Mexico. Later it was brought to Italy. As zucchini is a type of squash, both seedlings are grown and cared for in a similar way.
Zucchini grows well when sown directly in the ground,. To sow seeds directly, place 3 seeds in one hole after the danger of late frost has passed. Seed in a row. When growing in rows the width of ridge should be about 3’ wide (100 centimeters) and space between seedlings is 23-32” (60-80 centimeters). When growing in two rows the width of ridge should be about 5’ (150 centimeters), and the space between seedlings should be 23-32” (60-80 centimeters). Also the space between rows should be about 24” (60 centimeters). Growing zucchinis in rows makes it much easier to care for the plants and to harvest the fruit.
In growing seedlings in pots, sow a seed in a pot 5” (12 centimeters) in diameter. Transplant seedlings when 3-5 leaves come out after the first cotyledons.
In rare cases, a side offshoot grows. Pinch back any offshoot immediately.
After rooting and until the plant starts producing, don’t give much water to seedlings. However, as seedlings should not dry out, place cut grasses around seedlings after the rainy season. As the roots of zucchini grow wide and shallow in the soil, placing grasses around the seedlings helps cool the soil, and roots are then protected from hot temperatures. When the plants start producing, water frequently for a good harvest.
As zucchini has insect-pollinated flowers, without insects to carry pollen to the flowers, artificial pollination becomes essential. Though unpollinated fruit keeps growing for a while, it will soon begin to wither from the top of the fruit. Also the reason zucchini doesn’t keep long after harvesting is because the fruit was unpollinated.
Production of Female Flowers and Male flowers
According to the temperatures during seedling growth, flower production changes and sometimes more female flowers are produced than male flowers. To pollinate for the purpose of saving seeds, you should put the male flowers of several plants to the female flower. However, to just produce many zucchini without saving their seeds, it is possible to put the pollen from a male flower to several female flowers.
Picking Flowers and Thinning Leaves
As unpollinated fruit rots quickly, remove it immediately.Also, malformed fruit should be immediately removed to control the plant’s energy consumption. As moisture is kept close to the center, the plants can easily mold because of rotten flower petals and so on. Therefore, remove senescent leaves so that light is allowed in, and remove as many withered leaves and fallen petals as possible.
In the early stages of fruition, fruit enlarges quickly. So, harvest fruit frequently.In 4-6 days after flowering, harvest the fruit when it is about 8” (20 centimeters) in length. By harvestingyoung fruit, plants can keep producing fruit vigorously. However, don’t harvest fruit on a rainy day, for the plants easily get diseased. When plants grow rapidly, they produce fruit of almost 8” (20 centimeters) in length before flowering. When fruit is produced before blooming, harvest by counting 4-6 days.
Fully ripened summer squash can be stored for a long time. It is possible to leave the zucchini on the plant until it becomes brown, and it can be stored for up to 3 months at ordinary temperatures after harvesting. To save seeds, scoop the seeds out with a spoon, put them into the water, and wash off any flesh or pulp. Because the good seeds of both pumpkin and zucchini float, skim the seeds off the surface of the water. Then, dry them.