There are so many health benefits to zucchini. If you can, you should have some zucchinis in your garden. But when is the best time to plant zucchini? Read on to find out.
What Is a Zucchini?
It is known by many names: courgette, summer squash, and baby marrow.
It is a vegetable related to the squash family. The fruit is green, although there is a variety known as golden zucchini that is either yellow or orange.
Most flowers are bisexual. In the case of zucchini, it has female and male flowers.
The female flower blooms at the end of an emergent zucchini while the male grows directly on the stem. Both flowers are yellow but the male one is slightly smaller.
Zucchini is a popular accompaniment for savory dishes. It can also stand on its own as a healthy side dish.
When raw, this vegetable has a slightly sweet and bitter taste. When it is cooked, the sweetness prevails.
By the way
Other parts of the zucchini plant can be eaten, too.
The slightly opened blossoms can be cooked as long as the pistils or stamens have been removed. They can be deep fried either in the form of fritters or tempura.
The zucchini fruit can grow as much as one meter long. If a flower is still attached to the zucchini, that means it is still immature. It’s sweeter, too, which makes it more in demand.
But the baby ones, those with still really soft and immature seeds, can be pickled in lieu of the more popular choice, the cucumber. The zucchini is usually 20 centimeters long if used for pickling.
According to the Guinness World Records, the longest zucchini to ever exist reached 2.52 meters–that’s 8.3 feet, which is more than the height of today’s tallest NBA player Tacko Fall (7’5”).
However, the bigger the zucchini, the less tasty it is. The bigger ones are usually tough to cook and eat and are too fibrous.
What’s the perfect size?
One that is seven to 10 inches in size is good enough to eat. If possible, don’t go longer than that.
Benefits of Growing Zucchini
Is growing zucchinis worth it? DEFINITELY!
There are many benefits to growing zucchinis at home:
To be clear, zucchini is actually a fruit. But it’s a fruit that is used as a vegetable as in it is used as part of the main meal rather than a dessert.
So, we shall refer to the zucchini here as a vegetable. And it is a versatile vegetable at that!
There are so many ways to cook the zucchini. Technically, the zucchini can be eaten raw, however, its best taste comes out when cooked.
The zucchini tastes a bit muted when raw, save for the slight sweetness and bitterness. When you cook it, though, the taste melds well with other ingredients.
A really great dish!
You don’t have to peel the zucchini when you cook it. The carotenoids are actually found on the zucchini skin–more on this later.
There are so many culinary uses to the zucchini. You can make a salad out of it. You can also thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise and use it as the exterior of a healthy wrap.
Or you can just slice it up and dip it on something delicious or you can make a bread out of it. You can fry it or grill it.
It can be an accompaniment to a hearty stew or you can blend it into a zucchini soup. There is also such a thing as zucchini fries or you can make pasta with zucchini.
Or you can actually make pasta out of zucchini. It’s a thing! It’s called zoodles–zucchini noodles. It’s a great alternative for people looking for a low-carb diet.
Zucchini is also really healthy. A cup of zucchini provides you with a gram of dietary fiber. That same amount only has 20 calories.
It’s a filling and healthy food you can use as an alternative to your usual heavy diet when you are trying to lose weight.
There is potassium, about a gram per serving, and vitamin C, about 14% of the reference daily intake, in the zucchini.
Remember we mentioned carotenoids earlier? Well, this is a great antioxidant, which helps protect one’s body from damage caused by free radicals.
People with type 2 diabetes would be happy to know that zucchini can also help lower blood sugar levels.
It can also help lower a person’s risk of getting a heart disease. It’s great for the eyes, too!
That’s a lot!
And there’s actually more benefits: it can also keep the bone healthy, it has anti-cancer effects, and it keeps thyroid hormone levels stable, among others.
It’s quite practical to grow your own zucchini because it grows so large. A fully mature zucchini can already be made into a side dish that can feed a small family.
A zucchini can grow up to an inch every day. It also grows in abundance.
You can use it in many ways; you will never get tired of eating zucchini.
Not a high-maintenance plant
Zucchini practically grows itself!
You should really take care of the plant so that it will have a healthy growth and eventually healthy fruits. But the above statement simply notes how easy it is to grow zucchinis.
They are so low maintenance.
Best Time to Plant Zucchini
While the zucchini is low-maintenance, you need to plant it at a particular time to ensure that it grows well.
So, when is the perfect time to plant zucchini?
MID-SPRING TO EARLY SUMMER
Zucchini doesn’t like cold temperatures and it cannot tolerate frost. The plant will still grow when you plant them in the cold but the fruit is not going to be pretty.
Expect the zucchini to have pitted skin, which is an effect from the cold. It’s an injury of sorts.
A simple scarring on the skin of the zucchini could already affect the taste.
That’s why, you should be more patient and wait until at least mid-spring to start planting your zucchini. Early summer would be great, too.
Here’s another rule of thumb:
Wait until the temperature is at least 70℉. That should mean that your soil is about 60℉. That would be the best condition for your zucchini.
You want the frost to be completely gone and you want the soil to be warm.
We mentioned that the zucchini can grow an inch or two a day. Well, here’s an even better deal–you can start harvesting in two months.
That means you can have multiple harvests every growing season.
Isn’t that amazing?
It truly is!
Now, we already know that you need to plant the zucchini when the weather is warm. Sunlight is actually also very important in this plant’s growth.
The plants should have access to direct sunlight. Zucchini needs six to eight hours of sunlight a day.
Zucchini takes up a lot of space in the garden. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can grow them on a trellis.
Dig holes at least an inch deep and at least two feet apart.
Drop the seeds in the hole.
Water generously. The plant needs an inch of water a day. But when the temperature is cooling, you can water it once a week or more, depending on how cold the weather is. The higher the temperature, less water will be needed.
There are so many benefits to growing your own zucchini. Since it’s low maintenance, the most important note for you is to plant it at the right time.
Knowing the best time to plant zucchini is crucial to growing a healthy produce right in your backyard. Zucchini has so many benefits that it’s crucial to get the start right so you can appropriately reap the benefits.
Zucchini is one of the most nutritious food in the world. It has fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, among so many others. There is also evidence that zucchini can help alleviate blood sugar levels while also reducing a person’s risk of getting a heart disease.
This fruit, which is widely used as a vegetable, is also low maintenance. More importantly, it can grow more or less an inch a day, which means having a bountiful harvest when the time is right. Plus, it’s so versatile that you can use it in various ways. You will never get tired of eating zucchini!