Zucchini and Summer Squash
All shapes and sizes . Photo - Diana Taliun/Shutterstock.com
Zucchinis are exuberant summer vegetables that ramble along the ground. They produce a harvest every second day, which might overwhelm if it weren’t for their versatility as raw, cooked, pickled, souped, or frittered deliciousness.
Zucchini and squash need sunshine, water and space. And we mean space – plant them at least 1.5m apart. Before planting add dolomite to the soil, according to packet directions. This will top up the calcium in the soil and prevent blossom end rot, which is a disease that causes the ends of the fruit to rot. Add cow manure and a little handful of potash and wait two weeks before planting seedlings.
Zucchini have both female and male flowers, the female flowers being those with the fruit just beneath. Both flowers can be eaten as is, or stuffed and cooked. The female flowers with the baby zucchini attached are particularly tasty! Harvest the fruit at 15cm, every second night through summer, or you’ll end up with tasteless marrows. Wear a long shirt and gloves if you are worried by the leaf spikes.
- The large leaves can be affected by powdery mildew, which looks like white powder on top of leaves. Treat it immediately with Eco-fungicide.
- Yellow and wrinkled fruit are due to lack of pollination. To pollinate, simply move the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers early in the morning.
Lebanese – grows 4-6m long, the pale green fruit is best picked 10-15cm long
Black Jack – dark green skin, grows 2m, best picked 15-18cm long
Gold Bullion – great golden colour though can be difficult to grow in Sydney
Pattypan squash - also called scallop squash or summer squash, these are available in yellow, green, and white varieties. Pick when no more than 6cm across