There’s something about yellow zucchini…something I can’t quite put my finger on. It looks just like the regular green zucchini except it’s bright yellow and tastes better. Or does it? Probably not, but that brilliant yellow colour has some sort of taste-changing effect and I’m not complaining.
Squash or Zucchini?
Squashes are confusing, there’s no getting around it. In general, the squash is a fruit, containing internal seeds that, when planted, will grow to a new squash. Shapes, colours, textures, and tastes differ dramatically between those in the squash family – compare zucchini with butternut squash or pumpkins (yes, pumpkins are squash too). Zucchini is a type of summer squash; winter squash would include the more hardy, robust types.
How they are stored, or rather, how they keep when stored is a good way to tell the difference between a summer and a winter squash. Winter squash can be kept for months in a cool, dry place. Their skins are thick and do not let much moisture escape, keeping fresh the tender edibles inside. Summer squash, on the other hand, can keep for a week in the fridge (although I have tempted fate a number of times and been successful). The skins are soft and in the grocery stores you will often see nicks and scrapes taken out of the skin due to a rough handling by store clerks or a bumpy ride from their farm or greenhouse origins.
Whether you call it yellow zucchini, yellow squash, summer squash, or some other common name, when it comes down to fruiting results, it’s all the same: lots of sun and lots of water. Keeping in mind that most squash plants grow large (and that may be an understatement), be sure to give your plants room to spread. Exact numbers will come with the plant (if you’re buying starts) or on the seed package if you’re trying your hand at starting from scratch. Follow these directions!
Soil: well-drained and fairly rich. Use a finely ground compost, compost tea, or a 16-16-8 fertilizer to promote flower growth and healthy fruit development.
Light: minimum 6 hours a day will enhance flower production.
Moisture: keep the plant evenly watered (don’t let it dry out too much between waterings). In our summers here, you will likely need to water 2-3 times a week.
Heat: zucchini love warm soil. Place near a south-facing wall to increase soil’s overall temperature.
This fungus is debilitating. You will notice a white powdery-like substance growing on the leaves and sometimes flowers and fruit. The leaves will sometimes curl up and die and the fruit will be stunted due to the lack of photosynthesis.
There are a few prevention methods:
1. Mix 9 parts water with 1 part milk and spray on the entire plant. Reapply after rain or watering.
2. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 litre of water and spray the entire plant. Reapply after rain or watering.
3. Bordo Copper Spray from Green Earth can be mixed with water and applied to leaves. Application and reapplication rates can be found on the package. Follow a strict schedule.
For those of you with a small garden, look for compact varieties with ‘bush’ or ‘patio’ in their name. They’ll spread less but still provide you with a delicious crop throughout the summer. Whether you enjoy yellow or green zucchini, yellow summer squash, or winter squash, be relieved in the fact that they are fairly simple to grow and are extremely nutritious to boot!