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Zucchini are garden pumpkins and can be found in many home gardens. This is due to the uncomplicated cultivation and the multiple usable fruits, which are available in different shapes and colors. Both the fruit and the flowers are edible. If you discover the first zucchini, it happens in quick succession. It is harvest time and the pumpkin fruits should be harvested quickly. They are at their most tender and aromatic when they are young.

Best harvest time

The main harvest time for zucchini, which is one of the most productive vegetables, extends from June to October. The time at which it can be harvested and the yield depend primarily on the prevailing weather. In cool and wet summers, for example, it can happen that the plants set many flowers, but hardly produce any fruit or fall off the plant and spoil at a very young stage. This is usually due to the fact that the fertilization was not optimal.

You should start harvesting as soon as the fruits are 15 - 20 cm long, when they are particularly tender and tasty. On the other hand, if you let them fully mature, which happens in a very short time, they can take on gigantic proportions. However, you then have to make significant compromises when it comes to taste and consistency, because the larger zucchini get, the taste becomes duller and woody. When fully ripe, these club-shaped fruits can reach a length of up to 70 cm. Basically, the last courgettes should be harvested before the first frost.

Harvest quickly

Like growing, harvesting the fruit is simple and straightforward. To separate them from the plant, you can lift them up a bit and twist them off carefully. Or you can cut them off with a sharp knife. The disadvantage of cutting it off is that a small piece is left on the plant, which rots relatively quickly and thus represents an entry point for germs and bacteria. For this reason turning is the better alternative.

  • harvest this pumpkin vegetable as young as possible
  • Such an early harvest time does not reduce the yield, quite the opposite
  • Plants produce new fruit tirelessly and comparatively quickly
  • always harvest quickly, preferably several times a week
  • Fruits left on the plant for too long become stale and woody
  • Plants are then exclusively occupied with the supply of these fruits
  • subsequent fruits fall off immediately after flowering or rot on the plant
  • as a result, it lacks the energy for new growth
  • this in turn can significantly reduce the yield
  • Rot that occurs can promote viral diseases and powdery mildew

Larger specimens still have an advantage, they can be stored better. On the other hand, if harvested regularly and quickly, a single plant can produce between 10 and 20 fruits, which corresponds to a yield of around 3-5 kg per square meter. Ultimately, the yield depends on the particular strain and how long the fruit is left to ripen on the plant.

Tip: Typically, 2-3 well-developed plants can provide a family of four with enough fresh vegetables all summer long.

harvest tips

Tips for a good harvest

In order for fruit to develop at all, the female flowers must be pollinated, which is usually done by insects. However, the time corridor for this is limited, because pollination of the female flowers is only possible for a few hours when the flowers are open. Unfavorable weather with lots of rain, wind and cold can mean that only a few insects are out and pollination may not occur.

Then there is the possibility of pollination by hand. To do this, select a male flower that is well developed and fully open at this point in time and break it off. Then the petals are removed and the stamens are rubbed over the stigma of the female flowers. You can pollinate several female flowers with just one male flower.

Alternatively, you can also use a fine brush to stroke the male stamens and thus transfer the pollen to the female flowers. After successful fertilization, the ovary swells and the petals begin to wither. To protect against fungal pathogens due to damp weather, it is advisable to remove the withered petals.

flowers edible

These plants, which belong to the garden pumpkins, not only produce tasty fruits, the bright yellow, extremely decorative flowers are also edible and a real delicacy. The zucchini develops male and female flowers, with only the female developing fruit. Male flowers already show small fruit buds when they flower, which is a good way to recognize them.

They can be harvested just before the flowers open and then eaten raw, baked, roasted, grilled or fried. Female flowers can be recognized by the short stalk and large ovaries beneath the yellow petals. Since the male flowers are needed for fertilization, you should not harvest too many of them.


Beware of bitter-tasting zucchini

If a fruit tastes bitter, regardless of the time, it should not be eaten. The substance responsible for this is cucurbitacin, a poison that is mainly found in ornamental gourds. This poison has been bred out of specimens that are offered for sale. However, under certain conditions, especially through self-rearing with self-harvested seeds, it can form again. This can also happen if they have been grown near ornamental gourds or if it is very warm during storage, this leads to stress and under stress the vegetables produce this toxin.



  • Do not store freshly harvested fruit at temperatures below 10 degrees
  • they can be kept for about 12 days
  • the younger the fruit, the shorter its shelf life
  • Avoid storing in close proximity to apples or pears
  • both types of fruit emit the ripening gas ethylene
  • this allows neighboring vegetables to ripen faster
  • consequently, the zucchini would spoil faster

Tip: Freezing the fruit to preserve it is not recommended, as this would greatly change the consistency of the fruit pulp, making it soft and watery. It is best to consume or process these vegetables immediately after harvest, when they are still fresh and crisp.

crop rotation

Observe crop rotation and mixed culture

When cultivating this vegetable plant, it is essential to ensure that crop rotation is observed and that suitable planting neighbors are used, both of which can have a positive or negative effect on the harvest or yields. Zucchini should be grown in the same location every 3-4 years at most to prevent harmful soil fungi from settling there. In addition, a mixed culture with onions, beans, peas, corn, celery, garlic, basil, nasturtium, thyme and marigolds is beneficial for this vegetable. On the other hand, planting next to potatoes is not recommended.

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