Growing zucchini in Arizona is a viable practice because the state provides the best conditions for this vegetable. According to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, zucchini is a popular vegetable that farmers appreciate due to its high economic value. These summer squashes only take 55 days to harvest and can yield up to 9 pounds of fruit.
However, it’s essential to note that the hardiness zones in Arizona range from 4b to 10b. This means that Arizona’s environment is arid, and gardeners must protect their crops against varying restricted climates and spontaneous low temperatures. Refer to Krostrade.com and learn how greenhouses are a practical solution against these extreme conditions.
Growing Zucchini In Arizona
In addition to using a greenhouse against harsh climates, you must know the steps in how to grow zucchini in Arizona. These include planting, pollination, watering, and harvesting. The Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County offers various information that farmers and gardeners can use for growing zucchini in Arizona.
Planting zucchini in Arizona starts in both March and August to make two harvests per year. Since this plant is sensitive to frost, you can use a greenhouse to maintain the temperature over 70°F. This way, you can guarantee healthy growth and development on your zucchini crops.
At the same time, you want to place the plants in a location where they can get 6 to 10 hours of sunlight every day. You can directly seed zucchini in beds, but to save time and effort, you can also start with plants from the nursery. For the former, check the date of the last frost before planting the seeds at 60°F and 6.0 to 7.5 pH soil conditions.
Each plant can have up to 2 feet of space from each other, and you can add liquid fertilizer at 2 to 3-week intervals. You should also check underneath the leaves of the plants for pests and address them early on. Zucchini is an annual plant that can take 35 to 55 days to harvest.
To encourage and support fruit production, you can intervene with pollination. Dab the stamen of a male plant into the center of a female flower early in the morning before the flowers close. According to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, one can expect times where you might see more male flowers.
In some cases, you may not need to help with pollination. Some areas are abundant in bees and other pollinators. But if you are doing the pollination yourself, make sure that you leave the stamen intact after you remove the petals.
Once the fruits and flowers are developing, you must maintain the soil moisture. This means it should not be completely dry nor soggy and watery. If you’re using a greenhouse, remember that you’re watering the soil and not the plant leaves, so skip overhead watering.
You can water zucchini crops once a week with up to 3 feet of water. In the summer, this can increase to up to three times a week. You can also mulch with organic matter to keep the soil hydrated.
It’s better to harvest immature fruits because further development can cause tough rinds. This lessens the quality of your zucchinis because underdeveloped seeds and soft skin are better qualities for the fruit. The extension also recommends to keep picking the fruits before they rot, so the plant continues to blossom and produce them.
As for the process of harvesting itself, cut at the stem between the fruit and main stem. This prevents damage to the plant. On the other hand, you can harvest the flowers early in the morning as some people enjoy eating them as well.
Do Zucchini Plants Grow Back Every Year?
Zucchini plants do not grow back every year. Remember that these crops are annuals, so their life expectancy is only for one season. As a gardener, you will need to replant zucchini every year as its lifespan is only from summer through the first few weeks of fall.
The low temperature and fading light in the fall will kill the zucchini vines. At the same time, do not have too much water on the soil nor let it dry out as this can shorten the plants’ lifespan. In the greenhouse, zucchinis tend to live longer and start diminishing at six months, according to some farmers.
How Much Sun Does A Zucchini Plant Need?
As mentioned earlier, six to ten hours of sunlight per day is best for zucchini plants. This duration of sun exposure will help your crops thrive and produce fruits well. Remember that zucchinis don’t do well in cold and shade, so if they can get up to eight hours of sunlight, that would be better.
How Many Zucchini Can One Plant Produce?
One zucchini plant can produce up to 10 pounds of fruits in one growing season. The more you pick fruits, the longer the plant produces them. Therefore, you’ll see how the plants’ harvests’ output is one reason why many farmers are interested in growing zucchini.
What Vegetables Grow Best In Arizona?
Other than zucchini, a lot of vegetables also grow best in Arizona. They are carrots, green beans, parsley, peppers, radishes, snap peas, and tomatoes. Arizona growers usually plant these crops between November and March, but it’s best to use a greenhouse to protect against January frost.
You can plant carrots every three weeks to have a continuous harvest. In Arizona, this can be from August to April in a sandy and well-drained soil. This vegetable is also a cool-season crop alongside broccoli and spinach.
Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the best locations for growing green beans. You can do this in November and start them indoors. After the frost, you can move them outside.
Parsley also grows well in Arizona. They grow well in springtime, and you can harvest fresh herbs year-round. Do note that parsley can thrive so well that they can take over the garden.
Both bell peppers and hot peppers are suitable for the dry climate, especially in southern Arizona. On the other hand, you can start growing them in the summer months if you live in a colder area. Remember that peppers need full sun, so choose an area that receives it well.
Alongside other cool-season vegetables, radishes are another winter crop. They can tolerate the conditions in Yuma, Arizona. At the same time, they are quick to harvest since they mature at only 20 days.
Growing snap peas in Arizona is similar to how you’ll grow green beans. However, do note that only plant them when the soil reaches 70°F. Since snap peas are warm-season crops, gardeners must ensure frost protection with them.
Arizona also grows tomatoes, but the cooperative extension mentioned that farmers stay prepared with some challenges. The water and soil in the desert are not feasible for tomatoes. Still, you can begin with transplants in mid-February in low areas and mid-March in colder regions.
Even though Arizona has four North American deserts, it is still a feasible gardening and farming state. Growing zucchini in Arizona is a viable practice because the state can provide favorable temperatures and conditions for this crop. Two harvests are possible in Arizona by planting in March and late August.
Freezing conditions such as frost can cause damage to the crops. For warm-season plants, you can protect them in January by starting indoors in a greenhouse. A controlled indoor environment like a greenhouse will allow you to maintain the optimum temperatures for your crops’ health, including zucchini.