Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Growing Zucchini Squash

Growing zucchini squash is probably one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden. Most varieties are large quantity producers of beautiful 8 – 10 inch long pieces that can be used in a multitude of different recipes. From bread to casseroles and cookies, zucchini is one of the wonder veggies that every gardener should grow and share.
Prior to doing any planting in my garden, I usually dig in about 4 – 5 inches of finished compost and wait at least a week before I plant. Also known as Italian squash, zucchini is typically started by seed, directly sown into the spring garden row, after the last frost in your area. Seeds should be planted in rows 3 to 4 feet apart in groups of 4 – 6 seeds per spot. Once seeds germinate, usually within 7 – 10 days, I choose the strongest three and remove the rest. One week later, you can choose the strongest one plant and pull out the rest.
Once plants are about one foot in diameter, I lay down a soaker hose the entire length of the row, placing the hose right up against the underside of the plants. Plants should receive at least one inch of water per week throughout their life and mulched with something like wheat straw about 3 – 4 inches thick. This mulching will help to retain moisture and deter most weed growth. The weeds that you do have pop up can be easily pulled by hand, as they are usually weak from having to struggle to grow through the mulch.

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