Zucchinis are a winner for being one of the quickest and easiest members of the squash family to grow.
Grow zucchini plants in full sun and use moist, rich seed compost. The plants will grow to about 2 ft (60 cm) high. The seeds germinate in 1 week, and the zucchinis are ready to harvest in 12 weeks. Zucchini plants are known as a plentiful crop, so you'll have enough to give away.
Make a 1/2-inch-deep hole, then push two seeds (on their sides) into the hole. When the seedlings appear, pull out the weakest one. Cover the propagator with a small container that has holes poked through it to create the ideal germinating conditions.
Dig out a hole in a large prepared container. Once the seedling has grown, you can squeeze the bottle to remove the plant. Place the plant in the hole, firm the soil around it, and water well.
This will help the soil stay moist and weed-free. Make sure the mulch doesn't touch the stem.
Zucchini plants need constantly moist soil, so bury a 6-inch (15-cm) pot that has holes in its base next to the plant. Frequently water into the pot so that the water will flow directly to the roots.
When the first flowers begin to form, feed the plant every 10 to 14 days with a tomato fertilizer and some compost tea. Be careful to avoid overfeeding.
When the zucchinis are 4 inches (10 cm) long, cut them at their base. This will encourage more zucchinis to grow on your plant. A fungus called powdery mildew can appear on zucchini plant leaves. Prevent this by keeping your plants well-watered, fed and with space around them for good airflow.
Excerpted from Ready, Set, Grow! by DK Books