Growing Zucchini in Your Backyard Garden

Growing Zucchini

A delightful and quick-growing vegetable for the garden is zucchini! Get advice on growing zucchini from an expert in vegetable gardening.

Cultivating Zucchini

Gardeners are often eager to share their tales about zucchini. There are numerous zucchini recipes online, including quick breads, sautés, salads, casseroles, and pasta dishes, thanks to the abundant growth of this summer crop. Discover how to cultivate zucchini in any size garden and make the most of your harvest!

Types and Characteristics

Zucchini is a type of summer squash, belonging to the Cucurbita pepo plant family. It is long and dark green, sometimes with stripes, and is sometimes called green squash or courgettes in the UK. Although considered a vegetable, zucchini is technically a fruit. There are two types of zucchini plants: Vining Zucchini, which grow along the ground and require several feet of space, and Bush Zucchini, which are compact and can be grown in containers, making them ideal for smaller gardens and backyards. Vegetable Sales Manager Josh Kirschenbaum shares his strategies for growing zucchini, helping even beginner gardeners harvest an impressive crop.

Optimal Conditions

Since zucchini are heavy feeders during their growing season, choose a planting spot that receives full sun, has well-draining soil, and is enriched with nutrients from aged manure or compost. Water your plants regularly and consistently; select a location that is convenient for you to water regularly.

Planting Zucchini Seeds

According to Josh, once the risk of frost has passed, zucchini seeds can be sown directly in the garden or started indoors. Even when planted directly in the ground, zucchini will produce within 40 to 55 days, ensuring a summer supply. Ensure to space the seeds two to three feet apart and plant them half an inch deep in enriched soil. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings sprout.

Starting Zucchini Seeds Indoors

Plant one or two seeds per pot if you choose to start zucchini seeds indoors. To prevent the plants from becoming root bound before transplanting outdoors, Josh recommends using pots that are approximately four inches deep and wide. Once the risk of frost has passed, transplant the seedlings into the garden.

Zucchini in Containers

Zucchini bush types thrive in pots. Choose a large planter that is at least 18 inches wide to provide ample space for roots and growth. Fill the container with rich potting soil. Plant one to three seeds in the center of the pot, about half an inch deep. Place your container in full sun and water it regularly to keep the soil consistently damp while the seeds sprout and the plants mature.


To train zucchini plants on a vertical trellis, ensure the fence or support is sturdy enough to bear the weight of the squash. Gently guide the vines onto the trellis and loosely tie them if needed. Provide adequate support for the zucchini as they grow and develop. Consider creating small hammocks from leftover fabric or old stockings to secure the vines to the trellis.


Water deeply once a week, ensuring the soil around the roots of the plants is thoroughly hydrated while keeping the leaves dry. As your zucchini plants develop and produce fruit, they will require ample water. Adding a layer of mulch around the plants helps to retain soil moisture.

Pollinating Zucchini Flowers

Zucchini produce male and female flowers that require cross-pollination to form fruit. Early in the season, they produce numerous male flowers that may wither away. Eventually, the plants will produce both male and female flowers. Female flowers can be identified by their miniature zucchini shape and thicker stem behind the blooms. If blooms drop off without producing fruit, you can aid pollination by gently transferring pollen from a male flower to the stigma inside the female blossoms. Regular watering and fertilization are crucial for healthy growth.


Gardeners often find themselves with an abundance of zucchini, resulting in oversized fruits. To prevent this, harvest your zucchini regularly unless you intend to grow the largest for a local fair. Harvest zucchini when they reach between eight and ten inches long, as they are tender and offer the best flavor. Use sharp garden shears to cut the fruit off the plant at an angle to prevent rainwater from pooling on the cut stem. Continual harvesting encourages more fruit production throughout the season, while allowing zucchini to grow larger can slow down the growth and development of new fruits.

Storing Zucchini

Your selected zucchini will stay in the refrigerator for seven to ten days. You can extend their shelf life by keeping them dry, so keep them in your crisper drawer with no washing.

Managing Pests

Josh warns about two common garden pests for zucchini plants: brownish-gray squash beetles and squash vine borers. The brownish-gray beetle, resembling a stink bug, feeds on the undersides of leaves, consuming masses of eggs or yellow dots. To remove the eggs, submerge them in soapy water. The larvae of squash vine borers, derived from moth eggs, consume stems from the inside out, causing damage. To manage these pests, inspect the stem base for eggs or remove wilting stems promptly.


Starting zucchini gardeners sometimes make the error of growing plants too close to one another. Josh advises gardeners to keep in mind that tiny plants require space to grow because they will soon begin to sprawl! Additionally, having space between the plants promotes airflow, which helps prevent the spread of some diseases, such as powdery mildew.

Harvest Often

Josh suggests that gardeners often overlook the importance of picking zucchini, which can enhance its flavor and increase plant yield. If you find yourself surrounded by zucchini, consider donating your surplus produce to local food banks or sharing it with neighbors to maintain community relations.

Enjoy Zucchini

Growing zucchini in your garden opens up numerous versatile recipes for healthy eating. Try options like zucchini kabobs with chicken, tilapia with zucchini noodles, or mix fresh zucchini with other vegetables for a colorful Pico de Gallo Salsa. Zucchini Pizza Casserole is a great addition to kids’ meals, providing extra vegetables. For a moist and flavorful treat, shred zucchini to make delicious cakes, such as a German chocolate-style cake with coconut and brown sugar frosting.

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