Not many people have the opportunity to grow vegetables. The modern era demands sacrifices, and in most cases, those sacrifices include free time which would be spent otherwise. But, how to grow zucchini on a trellis, if there is no time?
One of the answers is to try to raise it on the roof of your building or work pot growing. The latter can be produced even in the apartment!
Surely, if you wish to have a fresh batch of zucchini any time, use this article as a guideline.
Why Even Bother With Growing, When You Can Buy It?
Although this is true, and the zucchini is available at every grocery store, there are two things which are not included if you buy it. The first is the taste which is immeasurably better with the homegrown zucchini, and the second is the feeling of success; you have decided something, and you prevailed in your effort.
Also, here are some general facts about zucchini which you should know:
Old chaps from Great Britain will call it courgette
Zucchini was made in Italy in the 19th century, thus the name
It is a one-year summer plant, from the family of squashes
Thrives in temperate climate
Sown in spring, once the temperature of the soil is at least 55°F
Harvested in summer
Where To Set It?
Zucchini are plants which love and thrive in sunny areas. Therefore, you have to choose the place which will satisfy their needs. Shade is not required, so you don’t need to bother with planning this too, and no covers are required.
If it is possible, I’d recommend you to use full benefit of southern exposure to the Sun if you are living in the Northern hemisphere, and northern if you are living under the equator. This area gains most of the sunlight in summer, and this is a critical period for zucchini, proper development might be halted, if they lack the sun.
With movable soil, such as bags, pots or buckets, things are a bit easier. You can see where the Sun shines the most and put it there. On the rooftops, however, people often use more massive crates, and those are hard to move once filled with soil. If this is your situation, plan.
What Kind Of Soil Is Needed?
The general rule is that zucchini prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil with pH between 6 and 7.5.
If pH varies, applying limestone or sulfur will be required, to balance acidity. If you are planting it in the garden, test the drainage of the soil, and if is needed, some measures such as increasing the percentage of the sand within the earth, or planting them on the elevated ground can be done. If you have opted for roof or pot planting, making sure that there are enough of the drainage holes on the vessel is a must.
As for the quality of the soil, zucchini prefers rich and manure-infused ground, so it might be good to start preparing the garden a bit sooner; timely tilling and adding compost will create a good foundation for the plants. Pot owners have a slight advantage here since they can buy just the kind of soil which is needed, without too much preparation.
To Grow From Seed, Or To Start Plants In Pots, That Is The Question
As with almost all other vegetables, zucchini can be sown in two ways:
Depending on your preference and time available, you can do both. I wanted to start early, so about four weeks before last frosts I have bought the seed and planted it in the tray. Some people advice to start 4-6 weeks before planting is possible, but I wanted to be sure. Those extra two weeks were taken so that the weather stabilizes; I didn’t want to out-of-nowhere-frost surprise me and ruin my plants. Of course, I have chosen a vining variety of the zucchini, since I wanted to build the trellis as well.
Some of the vining varieties include “Little Gem,” “Tatume” and “Long Green Trailing.” Whichever you choose is up to you, but my advice is to try “Table Dainty”, since it has an entirely unusual color pattern.
I took the tray, filled it with richly manured soil and planted the seeds ½ inch deep. I have watered it regularly, but in small quantities, and I was sure that it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight during the day.
As for the direct garden sowing, check the temperature of the soil regularly. Once it stabilizes at least 57°F (again, two more, just to be sure), you can make moves to start planting.
How To Build Or Buy Trellis?
There are several approaches to building a trellis if you need an afternoon hobby, or to make things easier, hit the first hardware store, and buy one already made. Of course, it also depends on the location of the plants, since those for pots and crates are a bit difficult to achieve.
Anyhow, for my garden, I have decided to make an ordinary, wood-and-rope one. Some people advice to build a vertical trellis, and to dig it into the ground. This approach has its advantages, but I have modified it a bit. By using simple math, I have calculated that for the height of 6 feet, I need two wooden laths long 6.18 feet, and which will be put so that they look like an A letter.
Down they are spread by 3 feet since that is the distance I want between rows. Nail one lath between, about 3 feet from the ground, to keep it in place. Now, after making two of this kind, I have connected them with additional laths. Between the “connections” I have loosely tied rope at 4” one above the other, thus creating “the web” where the vines will climb.
This way, I got portable trellis, which can be used several times without digging in and sweat the whole day. One set of trellis covers two rows, and each row is “climbing” its side. Since they are angled, I could walk freely between the rows and to water and monitor the plants. I suggest setting the trellis in place before sowing because it is easier for you to plant around it.
As for pot planting, making the same one like described above is possible, with the difference that it needs to be taller to the depth of the bucket or pot. In other words, you need 6 feet of trellis above the ground, so just expand “the legs” of the trellis.
Should I Grab The Trowel?
Yes, after setting everything in place, it is time to sow the zucchini. Start with digging a hole ½ inch deep if you are planting the seed or a bit larger than the ball of soil which remained on roots of the seedling after it is removed from the tray. Put the zucchini in the hole, water it, and cover with soil. By tapping lightly on top, you have secured that the moist will remain within the land and that the germination of the seed will be successful.
Since I have started from the tray, I have dug the hole, put the seedling in and filled the gaps. Of course, I looked that I have sown it directly under the first rope of the trellis. The space between two plants needs to be the same as between rows; around three feet is just beautiful.
If you are busy most of the time, adding mulch might help you to fight off the weed which will sprout once fertilizing and watering begins. If you can, visit zucchinis daily and pull out any weed you find. These can draw a significant amount of nutrients from the soil, and so your plants will suffer.
How To Maintain A Steady Grow?
Besides pulling out any weed which appears, watering regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet and applying mild manure tea or liquid fertilizer once in every 3-4 weeks is crucial. Of course, watering should be done early in the morning, since during the day the sun may heat up the water, causing permanent damage to the plant.
As the vines continue to progress, I had to guide them up the web and to tie them loosely with stripes of old cloth occasionally. This way the vines get tangled in the trellis, and this takes off the weight of the plants from the main vine. Also, I have looked carefully for any side branches and removed them as well.
What To Do When It Flowers?
Once the flowers appear, this usually means that fertilizing is needed every 10-14 days. Tomato fertilizer, as I have discovered does wonder with zucchini, and also, if you made manure tea, you can continue to use it, only a bit more often, since the fruits will require a lot of nutrients.
You will notice in time that your plants have developed two types of flowers. Males have a longer stem and a long stamen inside the flower. This identification is necessary in case that there are not enough bees or other pollinating insects, so you will have to do it manually. By cutting off a male flower, pull the petals back, and cover the interior of female flower with pollen which is contained at the stamen.
This should provide results, and once the fruits are around 4-5 inches long, they are ready to be harvested. Notice that the length differs from specie to specie, so read the labels at the bag, just to be sure.
And What About The Enemies?
Luckily, zucchini does not have many natural enemies. On the other hand, they are quite sensitive, so looking not to step on the vine is of utmost importance. Also, when watering the plant, see that you lift up the leaves because otherwise, it can lead to developing of powdery mildew, a fungus which can significantly cut down the harvest.
At The End
Zucchini is often grown for their extensive usage and mild taste. How to grow zucchini on a trellis is not such hard work, so you can try it even if you don’t have gardening experience. Although I have enjoyed growing them, this is not the primary reason for this.
I love to bring the smile on the face of my family with fresh from the garden vegetables, and you should try the same. At the very end, there are thousands of recipes which include zucchini, so there is a lot of them to try out.
Of course, if you have any questions, suggestions, and doubts, feel free to share it in the comment section below.