Zucchini is in season, and they are piling up at the markets. Do you wish, though, that you had planted one in your garden? Or maybe you have no garden — just a front stoop — and you're listening resentfully to all your gardener friends complaining about their huge stash of squash. Well, it's not too late to plant zucchini, and you can even plant this one very pretty variety in a pot!
I discovered this variety of zucchini last summer, after my vining zucchini had nearly taken over my small garden and yet still hadn't produced much fruit. I saw some prettier, more compact bush zucchini plants at a local restaurant, and I was inspired to do a little research. I bought a packet of these Raven zucchini seeds and planted a few in late August, just to see what would happen.
Well! Those seeds shot up, and before frost set in a few weeks later, I had a full crop of zucchini.
These things are fast. The nursery says that they take 48 days from planting to setting fruit, but I have found that they actually shoot up much quicker than that in my garden. I have planted seeds and had little zucchinis sprouting on the plants in about 3 weeks. Once a small zucchini starts — don't blink! They'll be huge overnight. This is one of my all-time favorite garden staples, now; it doesn't even fall prey to squash bugs.
I have been picking 4 to 5 zucchini off this plant every week since June, and the fruit is delicious. It's mild, with a thin skin, and I have made it into muffins and breads, but also grilled and sautéed it. Delicious!
The plant itself is rather beautiful; it has serrated and lobed leaves with splashes of white. The flowers of course are beautiful — a vibrant egg yolk yellow. This would be a wonderful plant for the back deck. Just plant a seed or two in a big 5-gallon pot, and give it some organic fertilizer or compost. Water well, and then sit back and wait for your zucchini to emerge.
• Find it: Raven (F1) (Cucurbita pepo), $2.35 for a packet at Johnny's Seeds
Have you ever planted zucchini in a pot?
(Images: Faith Durand)