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When to harvest zukes

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When to harvest zukes

Post  madamsolanum on 3/26/2011, 9:16 am

First time SFG, first time growing zucchini...

I have 4 Ferry-Morse Zucchini Elite Hybrid grown from seed 58 days ago. Healthy, happy, prolific, flowering plants. 2 have a square foot, and 2 are in pots.

Hand-pollinated first female 5 days ago, and have about a 4-5 in. zuke (along with others of varying lengths that I've pollinated since) that dents easily with a fingernail. However, it still has its (wilting) flower. Does that mean it's still too soon to harvest? I'd kinda like to see it get a little bit bigger, but I don't want to miss out on the optimal harvesting time period.

Is the flower supposed to fall off before you harvest it?

Thanks,
Madam Solanum
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Re: When to harvest zukes

Post  Megan on 3/26/2011, 9:23 am

Congrats on your first zucchini!

You can certainly harvest them now and eat the flower along with the squash (you'd pay big bucks at a specialty store for that!) but you can let them get a little bigger, too. About 1.5" diameter is what I shoot for.
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Re: When to harvest zukes

Post  madamsolanum on 3/26/2011, 9:54 am

My hubby went and peeked at them and said he'd give them another day. He has a horticulture degree, but mostly in large-scale farming operations, not backyard gardens! They aren't quite as big around yet as you recommended...maybe an inch. My hubby did congratulate me on how prolific the plants are and how healthy they look. He called the zuke "cute." Razz

I can't wait to eat it! I have about a half dozen more right behind it, and I'll probably be sick of it in 2 weeks, LOL!!! Fortunately, I like zucchini bread, so I'm not afraid to grate/freeze it. Plus I got peeps...church peeps...who have to be nice and say thank you when I give it to them. lol!
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re:When to harvest cukes

Post  westie42 on 3/26/2011, 10:46 am

The store sells packages of them at 1X6 or so. I make a raw food spaghetti where the Z is peeled down to nothing and those strips is the pasta part, I prefer about 10 inchers for that. My buddies wife wants them big 3X18 and up to grate and freeze for her winter baking breads. Sometimes I love a few 3 inchers that are very tender and succulent to use in an oriental or Italian stir fry. And for the grill from what you have up to 10 inches works for me. I pan fry ones up to 2 inches thick with worchester sauce and think they taste like mushrooms. So to me many sizes fit many uses and I think that way when I peek at the plants to discover what is there. Most people that I give them to would relish them as young as possible before seeds are in the way. Love the suggestion of also using the blossom. The Brits call yellow squash yellow zukes and they are pretty flexible in use too. Saute one of those babies with onions and garlic is awesome. Please let us know from time to time how your two growing methods compare. Waste not and want not.

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Re: When to harvest zukes

Post  quiltbea on 3/26/2011, 11:20 am

The male flowers don't have a bulb at their end so that may be what you're seeing dropping off because they don't grow a fruit.
I like to pick them 4-7" and steadily to keep them producing.
If you let them get too big I believe the plant will think its time to go to seed and will stop making new ones.
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Re: When to harvest zukes

Post  elliephant on 3/26/2011, 12:35 pm

cheers

How exciting! I just hand-pollinated my first 2 blossoms of the year this morning. Can't wait to pick them! I've not yet managed to grow enough squash to get sick of it. Powdery mildew and/or other diseases have always taken out my plants before that. Sad

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Re: When to harvest zukes

Post  madamsolanum on 3/26/2011, 1:11 pm

OMG, Elliephant, are you serious? I was hoping that planting them so early in the season might help me avoid some mildew/disease issues. I know it certainly has helped with the insect problem. I've had maybe a handful of aphids on my sugar snaps, but I've caught a ladybug gnoshing around in there, and pinched off a couple of overly-infested leaves, so that's really the only thing I can complain about in 5 weeks of SFG. I did plant lots of marigolds (5 square feet of five plants in each square, and four around the edges of my four tomatoes...so what's that...25 + 16 = 41 marigold plants), so maybe that's helping?? I HATE tomato hornworms. They are my sworn nemesis.

We've had a super-dry early spring here in Houston, so maybe that's helping, too. I've been watering 1 to 1.5 inches twice weekly, and so far, so good.
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Re: When to harvest zukes

Post  elliephant on 3/26/2011, 2:51 pm

I'm hoping the same thing you are...that planting early will help. Last year I'm not quite sure when I planted, but it was later than this year because my squash boxes were my first "expansion" after I filled up the orginal boxes Laughing

Of course we're forecast to hit 99 today, but we've also been very dry ever since last September.

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