When European explorers came to the America’s squash was one of the 3 major foods the native Indians used, along with beans and corn. They had never seen them before so they thought they were melons. Squash seeds have been found in Archeological digs in Mexico, that date back to between 9000 and 4000 B.C. Columbus brought squash seeds back to Europe in his explorations. The Zucchini as we know it however wasn’t used in this form probably until the late 1800’s, In Italy probably near Milan, because many of the early varieties are named after nearby cities. We normally pick a Zucchini when it is young about 8 inches (20 cm ) or less.
Zucchini is low in calories and has lots of vitamins. It is considered a great food for a diet because it is a “Filling Food” and for the amout of calories, about 17 per 100g or 4 ounces, it creates a feeling of being full. Most of the vitamins are in the peel, which is also a good source of fiber. Zucchini is a great source of potassium and B vitamins. The golden zucchini is a great source of beta carotene. The flexibility of the zucchini lends itself well if you are vegetarian or on a diet as you can use it for so many things. For instance , if I was going to serve potato pancakes I would use shredded zucchini instead of potatoes. I have used long slices of zucchini in place of lasagna noodles, and in place of tortillas in Enchiladas. Grated zucchini goes well in muffins or bread to give it body and extra vitamins.
Spacing: 2′ – 3′
Height: 12″ – 18”
Optimum Soil Ph: 5.5 to 6.8
Days To Maturity: 41
Sowing Method: Outdoors
Start seeds indoors 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost in peat pots. Do not seed or tranplant seeds outside until the soil temperature is 55 to 60º F for successful germination. Usually, you can seed any time from one week after the last spring frost to midsummer. You may be able to have two crops per season if you time it right. The outside planting site needs to receive full sun; the soil should be moist and well-drained, but not soggy. Work compost or aged manure into the soil before planting for a rich soil base. To germinate outside, use cloche or frame protection in cold climates for the first few weeks. When you transplant, take care not to damage the root ball. Plant seeds one inch deep and 2 to 3 feet apart. Most summer squashes now come in bush varieties, but winter squash is a vine plant and needs more space. They will need to be thinned in early stages of development.