Author: Danijela Despotovic
Zucchini is one of our favourite vegetables and we can hardly imagine a garden without it. It is an annual plant that forms a compact shrub, sensitive to low temperatures and lack of water. Zucchini has very few calories, but lots of nutritional value. They are an ideal diet food as they help improve digestion and are an excellent source of vitamins B and C, manganese and potassium, while yellow squash is also rich in beta carotene.
Zucchini is the second most popular vegetable from the gourd family, after cucumber. This species has a relatively short growing season, but it grows very quickly and you can start growing it even from midsummer. It can be sown directly into the soil, and in that case the recommendation is to put 2-3 seeds per planting hole, but a simpler alternative would be to grow or else buy seedlings. If you opt for growing zucchini seedlings, it will take 10-12 days from the moment of sowing to the moment when the plant is ready to be transplanted into the ground. Being thermophilic, it does well in high temperatures and long sunny days and should be transplanted outdoors from mid- or late April.
When planting, it would be useful to apply high nitrogen fertilizer to the soil, because zucchini has large green leaves that will need a lot of nutrients to grow and develop properly. Also, this vegetable needs to be well-watered. It has a shallow and branched root, so mulch plays an important role here.
Zucchini is a prolific vegetable. Depending on the variety, the fruits can be of different colours, shapes, while the size mainly depends on the time of harvest. We would recommend daily harvesting, because that way you encourage continuous cropping and ensure a bigger yield. The interesting thing about zucchini is that it is not just the very fruit that is edible, but its flowers are a real delicacy as well.
Common fungal diseases of zucchini are downy mildew and powdery mildew. Preventive measures are needed in order to avoid these diseases altogether, or else, to stop them from spreading once we have already noticed the symptoms. One of such measures is to apply plants that have a fungicidal or insecticidal effect.
Common horsetail, Equisetum arvense L. is a plant from the weed family that grows in moist meadows, fields and in semi-shade. It is both medicinal, but also an important asset of an organic garden. It is ideal in helping plants resist diseases and ward off attacks of harmful insects. It prevents against rust, powdery mildew and attack of red spider and other mites. The Equisetum plus product is a highly concentrated extract of equisetum (Equisetum arvense). Natural sulphur-silicate compounds have a positive effect on the cuticle, which prevent fungi from entering fruits and leaves.
Zucchini is the ultimate summertime food – rich in water and low in calories. They are very easy to grow, so you can enjoy low-calorie meals all summer long made with zucchini from your garden.
In cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, La Organica filmed a series of short videos on how to grow a garden on your terrace or in your yard. The episode on growing zucchini can be found here: