When it comes to deciding when to plant zucchini in California, the first thing to consider is the climate of the area. Zucchini is a warm-season crop and should be planted after the last frost-free date in early summer. California has generally mild winters, which means gardeners can start planting seeds as early as March in Northern California and April in Southern California. Generally speaking, vegetables such as zucchini should be planted between two and three weeks after the last frost of spring and berries should be planted six or seven weeks after the last frost.
Before rushing into planting, make sure your soil is prepped for planting. Both raised bed and in-ground soil should be amended with a mixture of compost, manure, and aged mulch to improve taste, production and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables. After the soil is amended and the frost has passed, it’s time to plant. Plant the zucchini seeds 8 inches apart and about 1-2 inches deep and cover the area with a light dusting of mulch.
Once the seeds have germinated, you can thin out the seedlings to allow for a proper spacing of 18-24 inches between each plant. Water the plants well, and continue to water regularly or when the top few inches of soil become dry. Keep an eye out for small white and yellow spots on the leaves of the plants. This is caused by powdery mildew and can be fixed by spraying the plants with a solution of water and baking soda. To make sure the zucchini fruits are nourished, top-dress the soil with compost about 3 weeks after the seeds germinate.
Harvest zucchini when they are 6-8 inches long. Harvest regularly as zucchini fruits can get too big and become tough. In addition to harvesting for the fruits, you can also pick zucchini flowers for salads or souffles.
Cooking is love made visible – Alice Waters
When planting any fruit or vegetable, it’s important to follow the best practices that will ensure the best results. When it comes to planting zucchini in California, it’s important to wait until the soil is well prepared and the chance of sudden frost has passed. Planting at the right time and in ample space in the soil will also help ensure the production of healthy fruits. Be sure to harvest regularly, to allow room for new fruit to develop; keep an eye out for powdery mildew and be sure to use a light hand with compost and fertilizers. Bon Appetit!