Zucchini (also known as summer squash or Courgette) is considered a high yielding plant because you can harvest vast amounts from each plant. In theory a single zucchini plant can feed an entire family.
I’ve experimented for many seasons with zucchinis but have not had much luck until now. There were a few key factors that contributed to the lack of zucchini success in the past but this year is a much different story.
Below I will share some of the secrets that helped me to successfully grow zucchinis in containers.
As you know, in the Netherlands we have a lot of snails. My experience with growing plants in the ground was met with much competition from snails and slugs. The plants, the flowers, and the zucchinis were attacked and I could barely harvest anything.
The following season I began with growing them in pots which were up high so that I could avoid the snail attacks. This was successful but the pots that I chose were too small and the harvest was a small amount of small zucchinis. I have since done a lot of research and have realized that a pot with a diameter of between 30cm to 60cm (12-24 inches) is more suitable. The ones I have chosen are about 45cm diameter and have just one plant in each.
Not all of the seeds I grew germinated, leaving me with weak plants. Zucchini seeds need to have plenty of warmth so that they do not rot. Growing them inside can be tricky as they are sensitive to being transplanted too.
This year I grew 3 different types of zucchinis and purchased another one from an honesty stand in Groningen. For the three that I grew from seed I placed 2 seeds of each in biodegradable pots. If both of the seeds germinated I would keep only the strongest one.
Transplanting them was made less stressful for the plant by using the biodegradable pot. I placed the whole seedling including the pot into the large container it would grow into. The roots of the plants naturally broke the small biodegradable pot.
They did look a little ridiculous, such a tiny plant in such a huge container. But that is ok because they will grow into it.
Timing of the transplant is also important. Too soon is not good as they are very frost tender. I placed mine outside the same weekend as my tomatoes, in mid-May, after hardening them off (placing them outside in the day and inside at night) for about a week.
Water the plants on the dirt, not on the leaves. Wet leaves can lead to powdery mildew. Give them a good soaking when the soil feels dry to touch.
Zucchinis are hungry, especially in containers. Make sure you give them some organic plant feed when they begin to have flowers.
Pick the little zucchinis; it will stimulate the plant to grow more zucchinis. If you go away for a vacation, make sure that the person caring for your plants also picks them or they could get too big and may damage the plant.
What can I do with too many Zucchinis?
You may like to make one of the following; Zucchini bread, Zucchini pancakes, Zucchini soup, Zucchini salad, Zucchini noodles, Zucchini butter, Zucchini Orzo pasta, Zucchini muffins, or Zucchini lasagna, just to name a few.
You can also freeze Zucchini
Uncooked grated Zucchini (you may wish to portion it in freezer bags) can be used for baking or soups at a later date.
Sliced or cubed and blanched Zucchini can be used whenever you need it
You can pickle Zucchini the same way as gherkins for salads later in the year
If you really still have too many, then you can give them away to friends and neighbors or share them with a sign saying food is free!