Seed Starting, Dark Green Zucchini (Curcurbita pepo)

Heirloom Dark Green Zucchini is easy for a new gardener and a big producer of tender, dark green zucchini. In zucchini, eat the skin for the best nutrition and flavor. I will plant 3 in big pots and let them ramble outwards. My beds aren’t quite big enough to carry the Curcurbita family, they sprawl and vine out. Even the bush varieties are large. I have grown zucchini in large pots for several years, and they produce well.  Give zucchini away, if you can, but it helps to eat them small and at maximum flavor. For salads I pick them by 5 inches, and not more than 7 inches for zucchini bread. For stir fry, smaller is better, about 4 inches, and I slice lengthwise in quarters, not crosswise, for delicate crunch and the beautiful green skin.

If they get out of hand, as zucchini are disposed to do, grate them into plastic freezer bags, one bag per zucchini bread recipe.  I put 2 cups in each bag.  I like zucchini bread and rarely run out of year before I run out of zucchini bread.

If I miss one and it gets too large for best eating, I grate it up and feed it to the girls.  Chickens love zucchini.  I usually have a variety of things to feed the girls, but if I did have more zucchini than year, I would thaw the grated packages one at a time and feed them to my chickens.

My dog, Little Guy, finds zucchini a waste of calories even though they are a good low calorie snack.  Go figure.  He is learning to walk on the leash with me while I am building beds and filling them.  He has been prone to pull on the leash and now walks with me calmly.  He is a Papillon that I rescued as an abused puppy and has been hard to train, a headstrong little guy.

I have grown the same heirloom zucchini for years, but this year I will save seeds from the best two out of three plants.  Let at least one zucchini over ripen until it shrivels and gets leathery.  Slice open and scoop the seeds into a bowl.  Add water and let the seeds drop to the bottom, and scoop out the floating pulp and dead seeds.  Drain and repeat. When clean, scoop the viable seeds out and dry on a paper towel.  Place on a tray and separate to allow complete drying.  In my low humidity, they will dry in a few days.  Otherwise, dry under a lamp.  Put in marked envelope and place the envelope in a glass jar.  Add a desiccant packet or a handful of dry rice.

Some years I plant unusual varieties of zucchini for a change of pace, but this is my old standby.  If my garden gets big enough for two varieties at the same time… I’ll plant more melons instead!  Three zucchini plants are plenty for me and the girls.

 

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About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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