Not all zucchini’s are created equal when it comes to cooking & eating them.
The dark green generic zucchini varieties (the seedlings often found in large chain garden centres) can taste awful and turn the best of us off this gorgeous vegetable!
Full of water, those dark green smooth zucchini varieties can lose their shape easily and go mushy when trying to pickle or preserve them plus they aren’t packed with flavour.
Yes! Zucchini’s can be full of flavour, granted not like some other vegetables that can take centre stage, the humble heritage variety zucchini’s can add another layer of flavour to pizza, curries, just about any dish really.
~ Favourite Zucchini’s ~
Cocozelle or Costata Romesco Zucchini’s are my favourite to grow.
I mail order the seeds in mid June, plant them in small seeding pots filled with seedling potting mix early to mid August.
A shelf on the front verandah is the perfect make shift nursery for seedlings. It faces north and catches the sun all day until late afternoon.
When the seedlings out grow their original little pots we plant them in to larger individual pots.
Once each plant is established, they spend warm days outside in a sunny spot out of the wind and bought back inside at night to keep warm, their tender leaves can’t cope with overnight temperatures at first.
When approximately 10-15 cm in size the plants have a strong established root system it coincides with the weather warm enough (with no more frosts forecast) the zucchini plants get planted in the garden with cloches placed over them at night time. This is the best situation for us, our climate and micro climate, it took a couple of years of trial and error but I looked to my gardening neighbour for advice, maybe you could ask someone who lives close by?
For cloches we use large recycled jars with the labels removed or homemade cold frames.
Space your plants 1 metre apart in full sun. It seems a lot of space but each plant really does need the space to stretch out.
Plant in well manured garden beds. Mulch heavily all around the garden bed, keep the mulch approximately 5-7cm away from the stem. By mulching heavily when the plant first goes in it saves having to try and mulch under the plant as it gets bigger. One less job to try and remember.
Water regularly and harvest zucchini’s when they are no more than 20cm long.
~Harvesting & Cooking with Zucchini’s ~
Harvesting the zucchini’s at a smaller size means the seeds don’t form or mature (zucchini seeds can contribute to them tasting bitter). The more zucchini’s you pick at a smaller size the more productive the plant becomes as long as you water well, and treat them to liquid fertiliser every 2 weeks.
Happy gardening & cooking.
If you are looking for some preserving tips there is my Preserve the Harvest free ebook there to help.
Our favourite Zucchini Pickle recipe is in there too.
Sending Light & Zucchini Love,
August 15, 2019