Perfect for novice gardeners, zucchini is very easy to grow and one is quickly rewarded with an abundant production. Used as a vegetable, this fruit in the botanical sense, which is part of the large family of cucurbits, is an ally of our health and our figure. It is therefore without hesitation that we can sow courgettes in the garden to be able to consume them without moderation a few weeks later.
The month ofApril is ideal for zucchini seedlings. We recommend sowing in buckets at the rate of three seeds per container and keep them under cover, where the temperature is around 20 ° C. It is also necessary to allow the seedlings to benefit from a great luminosity from the emergence. The sowing method is as follows:
- Once the pockets are in pots, cover them with a thin layer of fertile soil without compacting it. Note that you can use biodegradable cups which can be placed directly in the ground when transplanting.
- Water in rain or by spraying the soil which must remain moist.
As soon as the seedlings reach a height of 10 cm, they can be transplanted into the ground, provided that this is sufficiently warmed by the sun.
In the southernmost regions, the zucchini can be sown directly in the ground from the end of the Ice Saints until July 15.
A well-exposed area of the vegetable garden is reserved for the courgette under the sun because she needs heat. She likes them cool, loose soils rich in organic matter. This is why before planting, care is taken to add fresh manure to the topsoil. The method of planting zucchini is as follows:
- Dig ahead holes 10 to 12 cm deep and 25 cm on the sides,
- Enrich the base with compost or fresh manure,
- Remember to space the holes 80 cm to 1 m in all directions,
- A few days later, keep only the most beautiful seedling in each cup,
- Place the cups in the holes,
- Cover the feet with the potting soil and tamp lightly,
- Water without wetting the leaves.
Install a mulch as soon as the plants have recovered.
Caring for the courgette
The mulch is very useful because it keeps the soil moist, essential for a good development of zucchini, but it also limits the growth of weeds and consequently limits the hoeing sessions. The thickness of the mulch should be 5-6 cm, not less.
Thewatering zucchini is done very early in the morning or in the evening, and at the foot so that the leaves do not get wet. It must be abundant and regular, at the rate of once every two days in the absence of mulch or of 2 waterings per week if care has been taken to install a mulch.
Pinch and trim
As soon as a young courgette plant has formed 5 or 6 leaves, it is necessary to pliersr the rod above the 2th leaf with a sharp secateurs because the cut must be clean and frank. This pruning is fundamental for new stems to form and flowers to appear.
A second size is to be expected after fruit development. We cut above the 2th leaf located above the last zucchini that you want to keep.
Parasites and diseases
The zucchini is not the target of particular parasites. On the other hand, its young, very tender leaves are a treat for gastropods. We can therefore limit the invasion of slugs and snails by placing iron-based granules authorized in organic farming at the foot of plantations. They are effective, but the only constraint is having to repeat the operation after each episode of heavy rains.
As for thepowdery mildew, it’s a disease spotted by spots that appear on the foliage. Diseased leaves should be removed so that they do not contaminate other vegetables in the garden, and burn them. In no case should they be used to make compost. To treat powdery mildew, plants can be sprayed with either of the following solutions:
- A mixture of 2 liters of water, 2 teaspoons of real Marseille soap and 10 g of sodium bicarbonate,
- A sulfur-based product that can be obtained in garden centers.
Powdery mildew appears especially on the stems of zucchini whose leaves have been wet during successive waterings. This is why care must be taken to water the foot.
Harvest your courgettes
The harvest takes place within three months of planting, from the moment the waterings have been sufficiently copious because it is the condition sine qua non so that the flowers and then the fruits develop quickly.
Round zucchinis are harvested as soon as they measure 10 or 11 cm in diameter and long ones when they are 18 to 20 cm in length. You can pick zucchini every day or every other day. It is therefore necessary to monitor the development of the fruits on a daily basis because it is very fast. However, zucchini that are too large are less popular because they start to have seeds.
It is also possible to pick some zucchini flowers which are eaten for example stuffed. Some can therefore be reserved for this use while the others will be left on the feet since they will later give birth to the fruits.