Every time I sit to blog, something or the other comes up and here I am almost a month without a post. Anyways, In this post, I am going to write about growing zucchinis. Growing them is one thing and how to pronounce “Zucchini” is another ;).
Why grow Zucchini? Growing zucchini is the only way to get zucchinis here in Bangalore. There are very few shops that sell zucchini and the prices are quite high. This makes growing more interesting.
Zucchini belongs to the same family as Pumpkin. Zucchini is also called as Squash , Courgette. It also comes in several shapes and colors like yellow, dark and light green with specks on it. Shapes are numerous. Zucchini grows very fast and starts yielding so quickly.
The seeds were sown in small pots like below and they germinated in 4 days. Their cotyledons are huge and they look very good.
1 week old seedlings: 18/3/2010. Remember? I told zucs grow very fast. In just a week’s time. I transplanted when it had one true leaf. It is transplanted into a dust-bin container.
In two weeks, this the growth. ( 24/3/2010)
In 3 weeks: ( 30/3/2010)
If you observe closely, there is a flower already!! Ok before going any further, I need to mention one thing about squashes( in general gourds). They have separate male and female flowers present in the same plant what is called “monoecious”. So not all the flowers will end up in your plate. Only the female flowers become zucchini. If you have plenty of male flowers, guess what, they are edible. You can google for good recipe using squash flowers.
In just 20 days, the flower is already seen.
8/4/2010: A month old plant, it is huge and takes about 4 sq feet. The leaves started to have a distinct pattern.
For zucchinis to form, pollination is very essential. You need to have lots of bees around your garden. In case you don’t have many around like in my case. Its time for you to help the plant find its mate. Like I said, Zucs have male and female flowers. But how to identify the sex of the flower?
Female flowers are easily identifiable. They have a immature zucchini behind them and the male flowers just comes empty handed with a thin stalk.
To pollinate, using a small paint brush, touch the brush on the pollen-bearing central core( stamens) and make sure the pollens stick to the brush. Do it in the early morning. Then take the brush and dust it on the centre of the female flower where the pistil is.
On successful pollination, the zucchini will start growing in a very good pace. Harvest your zucchinis when they are still immature. Don’t let them grow to its fullest size. Younger the better.
I got plenty of zucchinis from just 3 plants. Below is the group picture of Zucchinis with cucumbers, radish and Okra.
Zucchini plant doesn’t need too much fertilizer at all. It can grow very well in our normal garden red soil. To grow zucchini, you can use red soil, vermicompost and sand/cocopeat in equal proportions. You can also add a handful of bone meal into the hole in which you are planting seeds/transplant. Leave plenty of space between two plants.