Zucchini is a tender summer squash that grows quickly and produces tasty, ready-to-harvest fruit just 35 to 55 days after planting. Growing zucchini is easy and requires little care if the plants receive full sunlight, high temperatures and well-drained soil. However, this vegetable has an extremely high moisture content – it is nearly 95 percent water. Thus, proper watering is critical for this thirsty plant. Find out here if you are watering your zucchini properly and what to look for.
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How much water does the vegetable need?
For healthy growth and a good harvest, zucchini needs about 5 liters of water per plant per watering. However, during heat waves and drought, the need can increase up to 10 liters. It is important to keep the soil well watered, but avoid waterlogging at all costs.
The zucchini plant requires constant soil moisture. Therefore, you should always check the soil with your finger before watering the plant. If both the upper and lower parts of the soil are moist, then you can water very little. If the soil has dried out, at least 3 liters of water is needed.
Watering zucchini wrong – what can be the consequences?
Yellow leaves and fruits that die.
Watering errors can result in a failed harvest for zucchini. For example, if the plants get too much or too little water, this can lead to various problems. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause the fruit to turn yellow and die . Sometimes only the leaves turn yellow , especially if there is not enough water in the soil .
The whole plant dies
Watering plants with cold water is another common maintenance mistake. It can lead to cold shock, which slows down growth. To prevent the plant from dying, you should always water with water that has the temperature of the environment. Water from a rain barrel is best. Alternatively, you can pour tap water into a suitable container and leave it outside until the temperature adjusts.
When watering zucchini, be careful not to wet the plant’s flowers and leaves. Work as close to the soil as possible to prevent fungal diseases from forming.
Fruits taste bitter
If the fruits taste bitter after harvesting, it is usually a sign of water shortage.
Caution. You should not eat bitter zucchini under any circumstances, because they are poisonous!
How often should you water zucchini plants?
Similar to cucumbers, zucchini should be watered a lot and regularly. Since both vegetables are mostly water, they are very thirsty. As a general rule, you should water once a week in cool weather and two to three times a week in hot, dry weather. The ideal time of day is early morning, as at this time the soil has cooled and the water does not evaporate as quickly. Alternatively, you can water in the early evening hours when there is no direct sunlight on the bed.
Avoid watering the plants from above. Instead, water slowly with a garden hose or drip hose so that the water penetrates deep into the soil. If you use a sprinkler, water early in the day to give zucchini leaves time to dry before evening. Damp leaves encourage viruses and fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and bacterial wilt.
Water zucchini deeply, adding 2 to 5 inches of water when the top of the soil feels dry.
More tips for healthy zucchini plants
Mulch for optimal soil moisture
Apply a layer of organic mulch at least five to eight inches thick around the plants when daytime temperatures are consistently above 23°C. Chopped bark or a mulch layer of lawn clippings work quite well for this purpose. Spread the mulch evenly, but keep it at least 2 inches away from the stems of the plants. The mulch will keep the roots of the plants moist and cool and help suppress the growth of weeds.
Keep the weeds under control
To combat small grasses in the vegetable bed, simply scrape the soil surface with a hoe on a regular basis. Very close to the plants, where the hoe may damage the roots of the zucchini, weed by hand. Otherwise, it can compete with the vegetable plants for soil moisture and nutrients.
In hot weather, water only around the roots.
During intense heat, do not water cucurbits directly at the roots, as this can cause the plant to die. Instead, water around the roots.
What to water the zucchini with for a better harvest?
Should zucchini be fertilized during the flowering and fruiting stages? Since zucchini are heavy feeders, they should have nutrients at all times to thrive. Re-fertilizing about two months after planting can increase yields and provide nutrients to the zucchini plant until the end of the growing season. Both organic fertilizer, such as horn meal, and mineral fertilizer, such as tomato fertilizer, are suitable for this purpose. In the growth phase, you can also add a homemade nettle liquid manure in a ratio of 1:10 weekly to the watering water.