photo by Keegan Houser

My First Zucchini Harvest

I finally grew zucchini successfully! This was a year in the making because I was unsuccessful last year. Last year I did things in a rush because I only just moved and got my garden started, but this year I did a few things to ensure a delicious harvest.

Sharing My Zucchini Success

First, I started my seedlings months in advance. I planted them after my last frost date in mid-late February. That gave the plants time to get a strong start before growing in their forever home.

Next, I put them into containers instead of in the beds because they take up so much space and I’d rather use bed space for things that don’t grow as wide, such as peppers, onions, some herbs. I also have collards growing in beds because they seem to do well there, especially in the winter months. Anyway, my zucchini is in containers now so they can stretch out as much as they need, and I can move them around to find the best spot for them to thrive.

Another change I applied was planting multiple zucchini plants at a time, and in succession. Last year I planted too few and I didn't get many fruit to pollenate. The more you grow, the more opportunity for pollination. In the past I had male flowers and female flowers blooming at irregular times-- for instance there were times when the female flowers were abundant but there weren't any male flowers to pollinate them, or vice versa. This becomes less of a problem when you have multiple plants (of the same time). Ideally, it’s best to have male & female flowers growing on a single plant together, which leads me to my next point.

Another thing I changed this year was fertilizing. I used a high nitrogen fertilizer to get the leaves growing, then followed that up with a high phosphorous fertilizer to support the root & fruit production. This led to an increase in the amount of male & female flowers on each plant, which led to more zucchini.

All in all, growing zucchini is not too difficult and my failures came from bad timing and a lack of knowledge. Learn from my mistakes, especially if it’s your first time. It’s important to note that growing conditions vary depending on where you are, so grow your vegetables at the right time and in the right medium that best suit your needs. These basic steps should help any beginner get started growing zucchini. If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

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