Growing zucchini in your garden is very easy, and a lot of fun. Once your plants become established, and start blooming – the race is on! Zucchini can grow very quickly, sometimes growing from a 3 inch tiny fruit to an 18 inch monster in just a couple days. Make sure you keep an eye on your growing zucchini once they bloom – I generally check on mine once a day, but no less than every other day.
When To Pick Zucchini
Most zucchini varieties are ready to pick when they reach lengths around six to twelve inches long. They can be longer or shorter depending on your variety and preferences. I try to stick to the “pick early, pick often” rule to encourage more production.
The zucchini should be a dark green color (color can depend on the variety of zucchini you are growing. There are yellow and even white colored zucchini. Check your seed pack or plant tag for the mature color of your particular zucchini), and be firm to the touch. If your zucchini feels mushy or soft, it could be starting to rot.
Zucchini plants can get very large, and have very broad leaves. This can make it very difficult to spot zucchini until it is too late, and you have something that resembles a caveman club. Be sure to check under leaves thoroughly for hiding zucchini.
Be careful when moving the leaves around on the zucchini plant. The stalks of the leaves are very easy to break, so be gentle when moving leaves around while zucchini hunting.
How To Pick Zucchini
So, you go out to your zucchini plants looking for a nice one to pick. You look around and to your disappointment do not see any that are ready.
Wait a minute – remember to check under those big leaves.
Aha! There’s a very nice zucchini just waiting to be harvested hiding under all those leaves! I can not tell you how many times I have missed a nice zucchini like this one because I did not check around the leaves enough, only to go back out to the garden a day later to find a behemoth monster. Make sure you check around the leaves thoroughly.
Now that you have found that perfect zucchini, it is time to pick it. Sometimes the zucchini plant can get very big with stems and leaves running everywhere, making it difficult to reach the zucchini. This is the way I pick those hard to reach zucchini.
First, I grab the zucchini by the end where the blossom is/was. Usually this is the fattest part of the zucchini and the best place for grip.
Now give the zucchini a gentle and easy twist. Do not yank on it, just give it a nice, slow twist. Normally twisting it 90 to 180 degrees will do the trick.
You should hear a clear, crisp POP! while slowly twisting the zucchini. You have just snapped the zucchini from the plant.
Sometimes the zucchini will not snap off like you really want it to, such as the picture above. See how it snapped a chunk off the top of the zucchini? Ideally, you want the zucchini to snap off leaving part of the stem on, like the one below. It doesn’t hurt the zucchini any by doing this, but it will cause the broken end to wilt faster unless it is consumed in a day or two.
This is how I pick my zucchini, if you have a different method, then please share it. I would love to hear how you pick your zucchini.