Zucchini and Squash Growing Guide

Are you thinking about adding Zucchini and Squash to your garden? Well, this guide has got you covered! Growing zucchini is like having a friend who gives you lots of goodies without expecting much in return. These plants are pretty chill – all they need is sunlight, soil, and water. If you give them what they need, they will shower you with tons of zucchinis in no time, and you won't have to work too hard. But even though they're easy, you still have to make some decisions as you plant and grow them. To get tasty Zucchini and Squash, you need to know the right time to harvest them.

From finding the right spot in your garden to dealing with those pesky bugs, this guide includes all tips and tricks to make zucchini and squash planting easy for you!

Zucchinis: Cultivation and History

Zucchinis, also known as "courgettes," is relatively new in the world of gardening. Their family roots can be traced back to Mexico, possibly around 7,000 years ago. They made their debut in Italian farming and cooking. Today, you can find zucchinis growing in many places, and they've influenced yummy dishes in countries like Japan, India, Turkey, and the US.

There are eight different groups of summer squash, and zucchinis are part of the group. These squashes have thin, edible skin, and they don't need as much space as winter squashes. You can grow them in small spots, containers, or big garden beds.

Types of Plants

There are many types of zucchini and squash plants to grow. Here are some examples:

Cocozelle Zucchini: This one is old-school with a long shape and dark green skin. It looks unique and stands out. It is a bush variety with stripes, and it only takes about 45 days from planting to harvest.

Round Zucchini: It is round and light green. You can stuff it, grill it, or use it in salads and sides.

Zephyr Squash: This summer squash is a mix of green and yellow, shaped like a bell. You can grill, bake, or sauté it – lots of options!

Pattypan Squash or Scallop Squash: It is a flying saucer with ridges. You can eat it raw or cook it in casseroles and soups.

Eight Ball Zucchini: It looks like a tiny watermelon but tastes like regular zucchini.

Yellow Crookneck: This squash has a bright yellow color and a curved neck. It is perfect for roasting, grilling, or mixing with other veggies in salads or stir-fries.

Where to Plant

Choose a location with plenty of sunlight for your zucchini or squash plants. Also, find a location that isn't too windy so that the plants can grow to their full potential. The soil should be a bit moist but not soggy, and it should let water drain through. This is essential for the health of your plants. Before planting, mix in some manure or compost to provide extra nutrients to your plants. The optimal soil pH required for zucchini and squash plants is between 6.0 and 6.5.

When to Plant

If you want to grow zucchini and summer squash from seeds, make sure it is warm outside and there is no chance of frost. The soil should be at least 60ºF. You can check the weather forecast to know when the last frost is expected. If you want to plant the seeds indoors, plant them in pots that can decompose about 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring.

Squash seedlings are delicate, so it is better to plant the entire pot in the ground with the plant. In early spring, prepare the soil, and if you want it to warm up faster, cover it with black plastic. It is also a good idea to plant squash in July because, by then, the risk of squash vine borers is lower.

How to Plant

If you're planting the seeds directly into the ground, make sure they go in about 1 inch deep and are spaced 3 inches apart. Another way is to put three seeds close together in a small mound of soil. Whether you choose rows or mounds, keep them six feet apart.

If it is still cold in your area during spring, use something like a cover to keep the seeds and little plants warm because they can't tolerate frost. After you've planted the seeds, give the area a good watering. Then, put a layer of stuff like straw, bark, or compost from the garden. This helps keep the soil moist and stops it from drying out.

How to Grow Zucchini and Squash Plants

Here is an easy guide to growing zucchini and squash plants:

Plant Spacing

Give each zucchini plant enough space to grow because they can become very large. If you're growing them on a trellis vertically, they can come closer together. So, leave at least 18 to 36 inches of space between plants.


Zucchini and squash plants need water to grow their big fruits. Make sure to water them regularly, and you can put some mulch around them to keep the soil from drying out too fast. Zucchini and squash plants love moist soil, so water them well, about 1 inch per week. Make sure the soil stays moist, especially when the fruits are growing. Use a 1 GPH or 1.5 GPH emitter per plant or ¼” soaker dripline wrapped around the plant base.

Weed Watch

After your zucchini and squash plants start growing, watch out for weeds. Take out any weeds that pop up. Keep the area around your plants clean by cutting off any dead or wilting weeds.


When you see flowers on your zucchini and squash plants, spread a balanced fertilizer on the soil. When your plants start growing fruits, you can add some slow-release fertilizer or compost to help them grow more veggies. The EZ-FLO fertilizer injector will connect in line with the drip irrigation and is compatible with water-soluble fertilizers.


If bees don't pollinate the squash or zucchini flowers, you will not get any fruit, or it might be small. Squash plants have male and female flowers, and the males appear first on thin stalks. Bees need to transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers to make fruit. You can do this yourself with a cotton swab. To attract bees, plant flowers that attract bees to your squash plants.

By following these easy steps, you can grow healthy and yummy zucchini and squash in your garden.

Managing Pests and Diseases

Taking care of your zucchini and squash plants is easy, but sometimes bugs and diseases can bother them. Here are simple ways to deal with pests and diseases!

Watch Out for Pests

Keep an eye on squash bugs and vine borers; they're the main troublemakers. Cover your plants with mesh row covers when they are young to keep bugs away. These covers also protect seeds and young plants from other animals. But don't forget to take the covers off so pollinators can reach the squash flowers. Look under the leaves for pes eggs. Take them off and drown them in soapy water. You can also use duct tape to remove bugs and eggs from the leaves.

Companion Planting

Many plants grow great with zucchini and squash plants, including marigolds, dill, beans, garlic, oregano, and peas. They help keep away squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Another good friend for zucchini is nasturtiums. These flowers keep pests away and bring more pollinators to your garden.

When to Harvest

Harvest your zucchini and squash plants when they're still small and tender, about 4 to 6 inches long. At this age, they're creamy, with tiny seeds that you won't even notice. Most summer squash types take about 60 days to grow after they start flowering fully. To be sure, check the info on the seed packet for your specific type.

If they grow too large, like a small child's forearm, they're still edible, but they might be a bit dry and not as tasty. You will need to peel and remove the seeds. The smaller ones work better for pancakes or muffins.

Use clean pruners or a sharp knife to cut the zucchinis from the plant. Leave about an inch of the stem attached to keep them fresh longer. The good part is that if you keep picking regularly, your plant will continue to produce more zucchinis. You can get about 8 pounds of fruit from each plant throughout the growing season.

Once you harvest, don't wash, or cut them until you're ready to use them. You can leave them out on the counter in a cool, dry place for a few days. But be careful – a day or two in the fridge can make them a bit dry.

How to Store Zucchini

Store your zucchinis and squash in a cool, dry area to keep it fresh. You can place them in a paper or plastic bag, leaving one end open to let in some air. Store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a longer shelf life. You can store zucchini for up to 10 days.

If you want to freeze zucchini, pick the smaller ones, less than six inches long. Wash them and cut them into small rounds. Blanch the slices in boiling water for three minutes to keep their flavor, structure, and color. After boiling, immediately put them in a dish of ice-cold water for three minutes, then drain and pat them dry.

Pack them into freezer-safe containers, leaving a little space at the top. If you do it, frozen zucchini can stay fresh for up to three months!

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – an easy guide to growing zucchini and squash plants in your garden! This guide covers everything, from when to plant to how to take care of your growing plants. I hope this guide makes it easier for you to enjoy a successful harvest of delicious zucchini and summer squash in your backyard.

For additional tips and tools, you can check out DripWorks, a valuable resource for efficient watering solutions in your garden. Happy gardening!