Monday, 13 April 2015

Plant Profile ~ Zucchini

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet, drink and botanical medicines."
~Henry David Thoreau





 I enjoy zucchini, but my husband doesn't really like it much. However he does like my cheese crumbed baked zucchini.   As zucchini is one of the plants I want in my vegie patch this season, I thought I would include zucchini in my plant profiles. 

A member of the summer squash group, it is a frost sensitive annual. According to The Diggers Club's  "Sow what when" chart I can plant zucchini year round here in the sub-tropics. 

Zucchini fruit can be dark green, yellow, white, or striped, and are cylindrical in shape. The plant produces yellow flowers which can be either male or female. The plants have large dark green leaves with silver-gray markings on the mature leaves. I have been told that some gardeners have mistaken these markings for mildew. 

Zucchini seed should be planted in a full sun position, in free draining soil that has been amended with compost.    I am going to allow about 80 centimeters between the plants and I will mulch well, once the plants sprout.   Zucchini’s need consistent and ample water.  If I don't supply the zucchini with enough water, the immature fruit may drop off the plant. But  I will need to avoid wetting the foliage in order to reduce the chance of mildew. I live in an agricultural district, and some local farmers  plant their zucchini's in holes cut into  plastic with the irrigation running to the plants underneath the plastic. I assume that this is in an effort to avoid powdery mildew.  If I do have problems with powdery mildew I will try one of the home remedies listed on the  Gardening Australia website.  




Zucchini grow well with sweet corn. Other companions are nasturtium, lovage and marjoram.

Much of the zucchini’s nutrients are in the skin, however the skin of the dark green variety has a reputation for being bitter. For this reason some people prefer the golden skinned variety. My seeds are a mixture of both colours, plus white, so I will have to wait and see which colours I have planted. 

Earlier this year, Patsi from A Working Pantry had this post on how to make Zucchini flour. I found this idea very interesting and if I end up with a glut of zucchini, I may give it a go.

Have you ever tried growing zucchini?

References:
Foods that Harm , Foods that Heal - Readers Digest
One Magic Square - Lolo Houbein

6 comments:

  1. Zucchini grows like a weed here in Denver's hot arid summer climate. The only time my zucchini plants failed was when my next door neighbor used a sprayer on his weeds and the spray went straight through the chain link fence and onto my garden. Other than that, I usually end up with zucchini coming out my ears! It's wonderful sauteed in butter, or cooked with green chilies & onions to make "calabacitas."

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    1. Thank you so much for the cooking suggestions. I just hope my plants grow so well I can use them! It would be nice to be rich in zucchinis.

      My neighbour killed some of my plants once by spraying his weeds on a windy day. I was so disappointed to lose plants that way.

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  2. Yum. I simply love zucchini. You can do everything with it. Roasted with olive oil, stuffed, grated in muffins, pureed in soups and smoothies. Luckily, zucchini grows to the size of baseball bats in our backyard!

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    1. I really enjoy zucchini too. Looking back I realise that Mum never served zucchini when I was growing up. Not once. She was very much a meat a four vegetable type of cook.

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  3. i haven't grown zucchini yet, though i do eat a lot of it when it's in season, our market gardens grow it so i buy from there, it helps to support them
    i don't use digger's seeds either as they will be climatised to their area, i much prefer green harvest & recently nanna chel put me onto another queensland seed seller fair dinkum seeds.
    good luck with them, will be watching & reading to see how they go
    thanx for sharing

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    1. Thanks Selina, I hope they grow well. I have used Green Harvest in the past too. It is important to support local markets and growers. We bought some vegies last weekend from a farm shop. The pumpkins were just beautiful, so good in fact I am thinking of making the pasta sauce recipe at Debt Free, Cashed up and Laughing http://www.debtfreecashedupandlaughing.com.au/2015/04/pasta-with-creamy-pumpkin-sauce.html

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