Growing Zucchini in Victoria
A quick and easy-to-grow little squash. Zucchinis start to bear very quickly and if they’re happy, they’ll produce an abundance of versatile veggies for the kitchen. They do well in the hot, dry Victorian summers and produce a lot of food quickly and in a relatively small space.
Water your zucchinis regularly. Infrequent watering stresses the plants and causes all sorts of problems.
Zucchinis need a good amount of sun, but like most veggies, will be happy with some afternoon shade.
Zucchinis love rich, moist soil. Dig plenty of compost and well-rotted manure into your soil. Soil with a high organic content will hold more moisture, which these squash really like.
Sow zucchinis into the garden once all danger of frost has passed and its consistently warm. They are very sensitive to frost and thrive in hot weather, so they’re not worth starting until its properly warm.
Zucchinis can be planted as seedlings, but are best planted from seed. Keep them moist until they are established and follow the spacing suggestions on the seed packaging. Zucchini plants can grow quite big and need a fair amount of space.
Plant your zucchinis out into the garden once all danger of frost has passed and its consistently warm. They are very sensitive to frost and thrive in hot weather.
Handle your seedlings gently, taking care not to damage their delicate roots. Place a small amount of bonemeal into each hole before planting. It’ll help your seedling to develop strong root systems which leads to healthy, vigorous plant. Water them well and don’t let the soil dry out while they’re settling in.
If your fruits start to shrink and rot while they’re still small, its probably because they haven’t been properly pollinated. Luckily this problem is easily solved through hand pollination.
As the plant grows, remove any older leaves that are diseased, damaged or yellowing. This will help the plant to direct more energy towards new growth and fruit, instead or supporting old, damaged leaves.
Zucchinis love water. Be sure to keep the soil moist, and, if possible, do not water their leaves. They’re particularly prone to fungal diseases (like powdery mildew) so of you must water the leaves, do so in the morning, so that the plants can dry during the heat of the day.
Feed every 4 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer.
Give them a good thick layer of organic mulch to keep the soil moist and the weeds out. Zucchinis have a relatively shallow root system, so a thick layer of mulch will also help to keep the roots cool. Lucerne or sugarcane are good options.
When the zucchinis reach the desired size, simply twist the fruit off or use a sharp knife to cut them away from the vine. Picking the zucchinis will encourage the plant to keep producing fruit. Zucchinis can be left on the vine and grow bigger rapidly, but the bigger they are, the more watery and less flavourful they become.
Snails and slugs
Lay down grit, like eggshells or silica sand or create barriers around your plants. Remove any slugs or snails that you see.
Milk spray or baking soda solution work well and can be sprayed on affected plants. Start spraying the plants as soon as you see signs of powdery mildew, as zucchinis are particularly prone to infection.
What to do about Snails and slugs?
What to do about Powdery Mildew?