How long does a Zucchini plant bear for?

californianMay 28, 2007

Will a plant planted two weeks ago keep bearing squashes until frost or do they stop bearing long before that? In other words, should I be planting new plants every three or four weeks to take the place of the ones that stop bearing or is one planting at the beginning of the season good enough for the whole summer and fall? I planted ten zucchinis and they are growing the best they ever have for me, probably because I put half of a one cubic foot bag of steer manure in each planting hole and made berms around them so I can deep water them on my sloping ground. Are ten plants too many to plant at one time for a family of four?

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cambse(8 - Renton WA)

Zucchini will bear until frost if you keep picking. Ten plants is going to supply your family and most likely every friend you know. Don't forget the food banks. They'll welcome any surplus. Looks like you're taking good care of them.

Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 2:50PM
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reba_grows(colder than 6, warmer than 5)

I have been able to keep zucchini plants producing well until the first really hard frost, by doing the following-

1) I cover the ground, where my transplants will go, with black plastic, a few weeks before I plant- to warm the soil.

2) I kept most of the insects, and the diseases they bring, away by covering the plants with insect netting/row cover, from setting out the transplants until they died from the cold. This means I hand pollinated them- really quite easy to do for the 3 plants I plant each year (2 regular hybrids 'Tigress' and 1 HUGE open pollinated italian hybrid 'Costa Romenesca').

3) I start my own seedlings. The diseases/blights, insect eggs can bring to your garden in a store bought transplant, can kill the plant and 'sicken' the soil. If I want to direct seed, I wait until the soil is 60 degrees for zucchini and I still cover the seeded bed immediately with row cover.

4) Remembering that my soil from the last year could have insects like cutworm larvae, I always use a cutworm 'collar' when I transplant. Other bugs, good and bad, might have overwintered in the soil as well, so I always have to check many, many times that I have not made a perfect place, under the rowcover, for them to live and eat my plants. The row cover must be tight to the ground (I use concrete bricks to hold the edges down, even on the rowcover over my potted veggies.)
After a while, with soap sprays and handpicking etc. I've banished most of them and the zucchini get big enough to thrive.

5) I fertilize by adding a slow release fertizer to the planting soil when I prepare it. Then I spray the transplants with seaweed extract and/or fish emulsion when I transplant them (or at about 2 weeks after direct seeding) and again when they get their first flowers about 3-4 weeks later.

6)water, water, water. Hopefully you have good drainage since they like to be evenly moist all the time, but not wet. Drip irrigation works well with zucchini since it's best to water only at the bottom of the plant.

7) I've used black plastic alone as mulch- it often gets too warm, even for heat lovers like squash, so I often use black plastic mulch until the soil and the air is good and warm then I add a few inches of an organic mulch on top of the plastic. My drip/soaker irrigation then goes under the plastic.

8) I harvest almost every day- no less than every other day. I pick the fruit when small, they are best that size. If you don't pick them the plant will stop producing.

9) At any time, if the weather turns colder, I add another layer of insect row cover, or later toward the first frost I switch to a heavier grade row cover.

It's hard to say if 10 plants will be too many for your foursome. Most times, 1 or 2 per person is plenty. I do know if you care for your plants well, and pick them often, you surely will have more than enough for eating raw in salads, cooked, baked in breads and don't forget they make great bread and butter pickles!

Lastly I have read that if you plant the first ones just after the last frost, you should plant more 6 weeks after that, then more another 4 weeks later to get a 'continual harvest'. I prefer to plant 3 transplants now and keep them warm, fed, waterered and insect free, for a continual harvest from the same plants.

Tell everyone here how your plants did.

And go to the harvest forum here for great zucchini recipes!!


    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 3:05PM
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Californian, I think you are going to have waaay to many zukes. I'd be expecting to pick a bucket+/week off that many plants.

An early planting of zucchini always succumbs to mildew with about 3-4 weeks left to the growing season here. What worked well for me last year was a second planting in the space first occupied by early cabbage. As the cabbage came off, the zucchini seed went in and those plants kicked in as the early planting failed and carried on into October.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 6:18PM
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my zucchinis always bear lots of squash until the dreaded squash vine borers arrive, which for me was this week. I'll get a few more nice zukes before its time to rip out all my plants....

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Melonhedd....You got the SVB? Really? Are you sure? Can Ya post a pic? Where is your GPS Local... We need to know!

Please respond to us ASAP, if your under attack! Most of us so far have not had any reports of SVB, you might be the first. We need your cordinates...this could be a Garden Web Emergency code one.

Please let us know more about this, If those thangs are east bound, or west bound....we need to know! and much thanks for the heads-up! Good Gardenen to YA! Gods Speed my friend!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:17PM
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TEN zucchinis? How much area have you allowed for each one? I think you're going to be looking for neighbors' cars left unlocked at night so you can stuff them with zucchini... if I were you I'd pull out at least six of them and plant something else there.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:07PM
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Actually its 14 Zucchini plants. The reason I planted so many is that with my terrible clay soil on a hillside I usually am lucky to get even one Zucchini from a plant. But now that I can water them without the water all running downhill they can finally grow properly. You don't know what a pleasure it would be to have even 200 square feet of flat ground to work with. I have no level areas on my property. I also dug the planting holes much bigger this year, about a foot and a half square and about 9 inches deep and mixed in a lot of steer manure and shredded wood with the clay to break it up. I have given up trying to amend the whole garden. Over the course of the last 10 years I must have put in over a thousand dollars worth of compost, mulch, steer manure, and gypsum into the 40 by 50 foot garden area, and a year later it all disappears and goes right back to pure clay. So now I only amend the exact spot I am going to plant something in.
Well with the zucchinis growing so well this year maybe I will rip half of them out and plant something else in their place. I also planted 29 tomato plants this year. Usually I have to plant about 31 to barely get enough tomatoes to eat because they produce so poorly or get diseased. Another factor may be this year I already pulled over 11,000 weeds (I counted) from around the plants instead of letting them take over. My soil is infested with weed seeds from the supposedly weed free compost and mulch I put on it. Don't believe them when they say weed free.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:32PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Zucchini plants are very vigorus producers. I like to allow a 4x4 area for each plants (or 2 if planted close together). I think you will get a bucket/day.

Usu. about the time the SVB gets them we are pretty tired of zuke and squash. But the key is to keep harvesting the fruit.

On the positive side the huge leaves will keep the weeds down ;-)

I can only say, WOW WOW WOW.
Good Luck,

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 10:53PM
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I made my planting holes three feet apart in rows about four and a half feet apart. I planted two Zucchini plants in each hole, about ten inches apart, and already their leaves are covering each other up. Maybe I should rip out one plant in each hole so then I would have a total ot seven plants instead of 14. BTW, the variety is Burpees Fordhook.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 11:09PM
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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

As far as I can tell, they will bear until frost kill. I never make it that far before getting so thoroughly sick of eating summer squash in everything, every day that I tear the plants out and throw them in the compost. Unless your family absolutely LOVES zuchinni, and you have lots of good recipes for it, 2 plants is probably enough. I'd only grow 1 for the two of us, but like to have a zuchinni plant and a yellow crookneck or pattypan, because the mix of colors makes the dishes they're added to look much more appealing. If you decide to keep a few extra plants and find yourself inundated, remember that squash blossoms and tiny zuchinni are both quite nice. Haven't tried it, but you can bread and fry the blossoms and they're supposed to be delectable. :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 11:47PM
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Sorry, Blane - no pics. I don't have one of those new-fangled digital cameras yet, and probably couldn't figure out how to post anyway... Just pulled out a smaller plant today - luckily my two other plants are monsters and will keep going for another week or two before succumbing completely. The terrorist borers are just a little early this year, but we have had a fantastic wet and cooler spring than normal, and I already have gotten a pretty decent crop, so no big complaints here... good luck to you this season!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 8:48AM
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My zuchinni plants bear until the first killing frost, middle october here, so quite a long time - frist fruits show up late june'early july,so for 3 mths i can pick,. I have grown them erevy year for 7 years and they always produce till the end. With 16 plants you are for sure going to have a ton....find lots of good ways to use - Save if you can for winter cooking.
i have 3 kinds of Zuchinni planted this year. started seeds in April and i have 9 plants outside....3 plants of each kind ( golden, green and 8-ball round) So yes, I will also have an abundance like the OP, but i also give to family and we also freeze to use all year long.
If you really do end up with billions of Zuchinni - the local food pantry / homeless shelter would be a wonderful place to send yuor extras.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 2:08PM
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Hey Melonhedd! thanks for responding. I had to wait for all the experts to give their inputs before I could get a reply from you, but thats how it is here sometimes....
Some have avoided my heed on a SVB attack, This info is well needed in this Forum. I dont know how important this research is to some, but to me Its a matter of having stuff to eat...or letting stuff eat my havings.

Please can Ya let us know your region...Need to know if the SVB is traveling west to east, or south to west or ....Get my drift? It would help others in the future, I hope we see your Reply soon....All others...Please help us out, We all know how to grow this, Now lets try and Track the Mother Moths....GG to Ya!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 10:23PM
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Hi blanesgarden, my squash plant was attacked by SVB this past week. I caught it early, and I think the plant is going to survive. The critters I pulled out didn't look like the pics I've seen (white worms), but more like translucent, tiny, round-ish, slimy grubs. Maybe just a different life stage? I scraped 'em out and squirted some Bt in the stem. Hopefully that'll do it. The plant hadn't even wilted yet, so I'm glad I noticed the invaders.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 10:46PM
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Great! Just as I thought.......V-Dreams, thanks for the info....
A new thread must be posted, sorry Californian...but Ya kinda started somethang we have to finish, Later Dude!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:00PM
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ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)

Hey Californian! 14 plants?!?! Are you nuts?!?!
mY dh "ALLOWS" me to grow 1 zuk and 1 crook neck! Even then we are putting zuks on neighbor's porches, ringing the bell and running!
The only way I have had luck freezing squash is to grate it and vacuume freeze it. This is good for breads, adding to soups and stews and adding to other recipees to add (hidden) veges. I also dehydrate it and freeze for use in soups.
HTH and you don't think I was too critical!
Another couple of uses could be (and I have used them both) Carve a face into one and use it as a babydoll (my DD LOVED this!) or install wheels and race them down a hill (other DD loved THIS!)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:10PM
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