When to Harvest Zucchini: Easy Growing Guide

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When to Pick Zucchini

If you enjoy dabbling in your home and gardens, growing your own zucchini, and other types of summer squash and vegetables, but are not sure when exactly the right time to pick zucchini is, never fear. Today you and I are going to walk through exactly when to pick zucchini for the best results, and how to plant grow, and harvest year zucchini from the most delicious flavor.

light green zucchini on the plant

Growing your own zucchini, in your vegetable garden is a fabulous addition. Homegrown zucchini taste so good when you enjoy it fresh from the garden, rather than having to buy it at the grocery store. There’s nothing quite as delicious as walking out to your garden and finding some tasty fresh zucchini that you can enjoy!

Zucchini Plant Life Cycle

Zucchini Seeds

Zucchini seeds can be purchased from your local farm supply store, grocery store, or even hardware store. They are large seeds, and each seed will grow into a single plant. There are many different varieties and kinds of zucchini that you can buy. Some are green which is most common, and others are yellow. 

You can also buy hybrid zucchini seeds or heirloom seeds. Hybrid seeds are great to plant for the current year, but if you want to save the seeds and plant them again next year, then you will want to make sure you find heirloom seeds. 

Zucchini seeds can be planted in the ground as soon as the chance of frost is gone. Make sure to read the back of the seed packet, to determine when it is safe to plant the seeds at your location. (Plant Hardiness Graph).

Because of where I am located, I typically wait to plant my seeds directly in the garden, until after May 15. Although not every year, most years this is a good rule of thumb because the chance of frost and snow is gone. Depending on your location, you may need to adjust these planting times, to be earlier or later in the year. 

Zucchini Plants

Zucchini plants are a type of squash plant that will begin to grow usually about two weeks after the seeds are planted in the dirt. After the sprouts appear above the ground, it will take several more weeks for them to grow to develop large leaves and then eventually flowers which will eventually turn into zucchinis.

zucchini flowers

Zucchini Blossoms

Zucchini blossoms appear on the plants in both female flowers and male zucchini flowers. In order for tiny zucchini to grow on the plant, both the male and the female flowers must be pollinated by the bees. 

First, the male flowers will bloom, these contain the pollen. Then the female flowers will open. In order to get fruit, the pollen must travel from the male flowers to the female flowers as the bees pollinate them. The zucchini fruits will grow from the female flowers after they have been pollinated. 

You can see the small fruits start to grow from the plant, well the female flowers are still attached to it. The flower will eventually fall away as the fruit grows. The male flower does not produce any zucchini, but without the male flower pollinating the female flower, the zucchini does not grow.

Zucchini Harvests

You can begin with the harvest zucchinis as soon as the squash is ripe. The ideal time to harvest zucchini squash is when the zucchini is approximately 6 inches long and 1 to 2 inches around. Depending on the specific type of squash you planted, it may turn a dark green color, to be the perfect time to harvest it.

When to pick zucchini?

The best time to pick zucchini is when they are 6 to 8 inches long, and anywhere between 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The exact dimensions will depend on the specific type of zucchini that you were planting.

zucchini ready for picking

What to look for in a Ripe Zucchini

In order to tell when zucchini is ripe, the skin should be tender, but the zucchini should be a decent link and whipped around. While you can eat zucchini that is still on the small side, you do not want to let it become overripe as it will no longer be good to eat.

It is possible to have an overripe zucchini. Tell if you have overripe zucchinis, it will be very large to begin with, and you will also notice that the skin on the zucchini is very tough. When you cut into that overripe zucchini, the seeds will be huge, and the inside and very tough as well. 

It’s okay to wait for your zucchini to grow to larger sizes, but when it becomes too large, it will become overripe very easily. You will especially want to keep an eye on mature zucchini during the peak harvest time because they can go from being a little small one day, to overripe, and no longer good the next day.

What are the main reasons to harvest zucchini when they are smaller, is so that you can enjoy the best flavor. Especially in the warm weather, you can go from having smaller fruits that are nice and juicy and tender fruits one day, then have them overripe the next day. It’s best to harvest the zucchini while they are still small zucchini, but not tiny. The perfect zucchini will be nice and tender but has already turned a darker green.

baby zucchini

The Growing Season

The growing season of zucchini produce will specifically depend on your location. Typically, they can be planted in early to mid-spring, then will likely produce their first fruit by late June, or early summer. Keep in mind this may vary depending on your specific location.

If you live in a warmer climate, then your harvest season is likely much different. The harvest season in warmer climates is typically somewhere between February and April, or if you live in a slightly warmer location, then your harvest season may be between April and June. Then if you live in the northern section, your harvest season could be even later, such as July and August. 

Whenever you see baby zucchini appear, keep a close eye on them so that you can harvest them at the right time. No matter when you begin harvesting your zucchini, the plants will typically continue producing zucchini all harvest season long or until the first frost. Near the end of the harvest season, you will begin to notice the plants slow down, or maybe even begin to die off.

If you have a lot of plants and want to gain a large harvest this season, make sure that you plant your zucchini with plenty of space in between the plants, then trim the lower leaves so that they have decent air circulation. This way you can avoid any difficulty that might be encountered with mildew, or high humidity. Zucchini plants like to have air circulation so that you can have a happy and healthy plant that will give you a bumper crop of zucchini.

Zucchini Varieties

When you think of zucchini plants, typically you think of green zucchini, however, zucchini is also available in a yellow, or golden version as well. The most common varieties of zucchini are black beauty, raven, fordhook, ribbed zucchini, and golden zucchini. Depending on where you are looking to buy different zucchini varieties, you may find other types as well. 

Zucchini Fruit Production

There are a few different key aspects that you want to keep in mind when planting your zucchini seeds for the best harvest. Here are a few tips to planting your zucchini seeds.

Well-Drained Soil. In order to get the best fruit production for your zucchini plant, you are going to want to be sure the seeds are planted first in well-drain soil. This means that there should not be any water sitting, or water buildup. You will want the water to be able to drain away from the seeds, so they do not rot. 

Direct Sunlight. The plants are going to be the happiest when they have direct sunlight or are exposed to full sun. This will make your harvest the most abundant.

Plant in Low Mounds. When planting seeds for zucchini, it’s best to plant them in little hills, or low mountains.

Fertilizer. In order to get the best harvest, you want to make sure that you have fertile soil. To be sure of this, you can have a soil test run, or you can add some fertilizer to your soil, with your abundant harvest.

green zucchini with flower

Common Problems

There are a few common problems that you may encounter when growing zucchini in your garden. These are powdery mildew and blossom-end rot. 

Powdery mildew happens when your zucchini plants are exposed to too much humidity. To help with this, you can simply make sure that your plants have enough air circulation.

Blossom-end rot is when the blossom rots away, rather than producing fruit as it should. To help prevent this, you can make sure that your plants have plenty of air circulation and are not being overly watered. One easy way to make sure that your plants have enough air circulation is to cut away any leaves near the base of the plant so that air can get beneath and circulate properly.

How to Help Get High Yields

As I mentioned above one of the most common problems with your zucchini plant is nothing to not get enough air circulation. One of the easiest ways to help your plant stay healthy, and ensure that you have a high yield of your zucchini, is to trim away some of the big leaves near the base of the plant so that there is enough circulation.

The best way to do this is to use some garden scissors early in the season, to trim away some leaves near the base of the main stem of the plant. This way you are not interfering with the plant as it nears harvest time, and it has plenty of opportunity to grow and flourish. 

Growing Zucchini

If you are like most home gardeners, then growing zucchini in your vegetable garden makes for a great addition. Not only do you get to have fun growing the zucchini, but you also get to enjoy eating the fruits of your labor.

I hope these tips and tricks for growing zucchini, and when to pick zucchini have been helpful to you. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for learning more about zucchini. I hope that you enjoy it!

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About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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