Squash Zucchini Safari
- Features: Slender, glossy green zucchinis with thick white-to-pale-green stripes, with silvery leaves. Compact, spineless plants make harvesting easy. High yields.
- Maturity: 50-60 days.
- Light: Plant in full sun.
- Soil and water: Well drained soil, mix a 7cm (3") layer of compost with timed release organic matter and a pH of 5.6 to 7.5. Water as needed.
- Spacing: Space 120cm (48") apart.
- Height: Vine length varies.
- Garden use: Vegetable gardens or raised beds.
- Growing tips: Squash blossoms are edible, go ahead and pick the first blossoms that appear. Remove the inner parts, and use the petals to add color to appetizers and salads. Harvesting the first flowers won’t hurt the plants’ production, because the early flowers are males, which bear pollen but not fruit.
- Culinary use: Used in dips, salads or cooked. Or grill marinated slices.
Harvesting and storage - You may harvest yellow squash, zucchini, and other types of summer squash as baby squash, or you can cut them larger, up to 15-20cm (6-8") long. Use a sharp knife to harvest every other day while the plants are producing. Remove overripe squash as soon as possible to reduce demands on the plants for moisture and nutrients. Summer squash also work well when dried. You can store butternut squash fruits for the winter. As butternut plants turn yellow in the fall, gather the fruits and wipe them clean to reduce spoilage. Move indoors for storage before freezing weather.
When the rinds of winter squash are tough enough to resist being punctured with a fingernail, cut them with a short stub of vine attached. Be patient, because only fully ripened squash will keep for months in storage. Wipe fruits clean with a damp cloth, and store them in a basement or other cool place. Until you are ready to cook pretty acorns or butternuts, it’s fine to include them in fall table decorations.