The Zucchini plant is actually a squash the same as the pumpkin is. It is perhaps the best producer you could place in your garden. You need only plant a couple of plants and you will be blessed with enough zucchini for not only your family but the neighbors also.
As we have mentioned the zucchini plant is a squash and like any other squash its skin is soft with a short shelf life. It has a fast growth rate of about 55 days.
Growing your garden zucchini is fairly easy and trouble free. You will want to plant your zucchini in rows placing the seed about one inch below the surface of the soil. Plant 4 or 5 seeds per hill and upon germinating select the best two plants to keep. Water your seeds the 1st day and then every 3rd day until you see them germinate. Zucchini will grow in most home soils although it prefers a well drained garden soil best. If you really need to add fertilizer to your zucchini do so by side dressing your plants.
Like other members of the squash family the Cucumber Beetle is its most dreaded pest. A Cucumber Beetle can be spotted or striped. The insect feeds upon the leaves of squash plants and it can easily spread diseases amongst the various plants. Another threat to the squash family is the Vine borers. You can actually consider the Squash Vine Borer as the most predominant enemy of the squash family. They tend to bore into the plants vine eventually chewing through the vine and resulting ultimately in the death of the plant.
Common insecticides can control the cucumber beetles while the Squash Vine borers need something a bit stronger.
When it is time to harvest your zucchini select the youngest ones that are no longer then 6 inches as they will be the tenderest. It is common among some people to wait until the zucchini gets very large and then they pick it but these samples are tougher and its skin will then be peeled. A zucchini plant is not very hardy. It easily dies from the spring and fall frost.
Just about any cook book that you pick up will contain hundreds of recipes for various zucchini dishes. We would like to include one here that is not so common. It is called Zucchini Marmalade. We hope you and your family enjoys it.
2 lbs of zucchini
the juice of two lemons
1 teaspoon of grate lemon zest
1 - 13 ounce can of drained crushed pineapple
1 package of powdered pectin
5 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons of minced, candied ginger
6 each 1/2 pint canning jars
Have your six canning jars sterilized and washed ahead of time and ready for use. Wash your zucchini and slice and peel it well. In a kettle combine the lemon juice, the lemon zest and the drained pineapple together. Bring this mixture to a quick boil and then immediately lower your heat to simmer. Now cook for an additional 15 minutes. Uncover the food and stir it occasionally.
Mix in the pectin and once again bring it to a boil. Add the sugar and ginger while continuing to boil for another minute remembering to stir it all the time.
Remove the kettle from the heat and skim off the foam which tends to rise to the surface. Allow this mixture to cool for 10 minutes and then ladle into your hot sterile jars. Seal according to the manufacturer's instructions. Lastly, process the jars for 10 minutes in your boiling water bath canner. Make certain to adjust your boiling time according to your altitude.
Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish
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Article Source: Ezinearticles.com