In My Garden: Black Beauty Zucchini

Friday, October 02, 2015

This year was my first year growing zucchini. I chose a packet of Black Beauty seeds. I liked that they were heirloom, and the dark flesh looked pretty. Within one week of planting the seeds, I had little seedlings. Within another two weeks, I had small plants, and within just over a month, I had my first buds forming. The honeybees went nuts, and were very protective of the pollen, and were always very busy pollinating my blooms and giving me fruit. I have blanched and frozen at least ten of them, given away a few, and eaten at least two a week since they first started coming. 

Growing zucchini has been ridiculously satisfying as they tend to grow rapidly and you can see the growth every single day. I highly recommend these zucchini plants, and hope you'll give them a try! I also recommend buying these seeds. They have produced for everyone I shared them with, and every seed I planted sprouted into a very healthy plant.

Black beauty zucchini grown in a pot // www.thejoyblog.net
Black beauty zucchini grown in a pot // www.thejoyblog.net

BASICS

Light: Full sun, 6 to 8 hours minimum
Fruit size: 2 inches by 8 inches
Maturity: 48 days
Plant spacing: 48 inches apart
Soil requirements: Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil.

This variety of zucchini is an heirloom. It matures early and is quite prolific. It has very dark green skin and a creamy colored inside. These quick-growing plants are quite easy to grow and will continue to produce regularly through the summer if the zucchini is regularly picked. Great for use in soups, salads, grilled, sautéed. Also freezes well. Harvest while skin is still tender. For seed saving let it grow large. You can also pick really small for baby zucchini. I've also heard that the blossoms are delicious if stuffed with cream cheese and deep fried, but I haven't tried that yet.

Black beauty zucchini seedling grown in a pot // www.thejoyblog.net
Black beauty zucchini grown in a pot // www.thejoyblog.net

Growing Black Beauty Zucchini

Zucchini need full sun so plant these in a part of your garden where they'll get at least 6 to 8 hours of sun a day. They get REALLY big, so allow at least 3 feet between plants, if not 4. They get big and bushy and the leaves are large and beautiful. Make sure the soil drains well, as they hate soggy feet. Create raised beds if soil tends to be heavy and poorly draining. Water regularly through the growing season and mulch the soil lightly to aid with reducing water evaporation. Once the vines and leaves bush out, they'll act as a natural mulch by shading the soil. 

Zucchini are squash plants, and squash plants are sensitive to cold. They do not like any frost at all and will be damaged by a light frost (28º F to 32º F). You'll want to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frost by covering them with straw or a frost blanket. Do not let frost stay on the fruit at the end of summer. It ruins the fruit.

Common Problems In Black Beauty Zucchini

Zucchini plants hate having their roots disturbed, so if at all possible, plant from seed. It is common for transplanted seedlings to be unhealthy plants. Squash bugs, vine borers, and cucumber beetles.  Zucchini can get  blossom end rot, where the end of growing fruits begins to rot. Powdery mildew can appear on leaves during the late summer.

Black beauty zucchini grown in a pot // www.thejoyblog.net

Harvesting + Storing Black Beauty Zucchini

Zucchini tastes best if you pick it when the fruits are still kind of small... like 6 to 8 inches in length. Cut the zucchini from the vine, leaving an intact stem attached to the zucchini fruit. Having a stem section (1/2 to 1 inch) helps the zucchini store longer.

Refrigerate summer squash in a loosely closed plastic bag to allow for some air flow around it. Zucchini is best used within 5 days of picking, but will stay useable for 2 weeks, although it might become a little softer. 

Nutrition Facts

Black beauty zucchini grown growing guide image // www.thejoyblog.net
1 cup of cooked sliced zucchini has the following nutritional value:
  • Calories: 36
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Dietary fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Vitamin C: 16% DV
  • Vitamin K: 10%
  • Folate: 9%
  • Vitamin B6: 8%
  • Manganese: 14%
  • Potassium: 9%
Zucchini has a great combination of nutrients including manganese, vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium, and a lot of of these have been linked to the prevention of heart disease. Most of these are found in the zucchini's skin.

++ Have you grown these? What are your tricks or tips? Please share with me in the comments below. 



Source: http://bonnieplants.com/product/black-beauty-zucchini/


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