Pruning zucchini isn’t one of those topics I’ve seen discussed often. Neglect to prune your zucchini and they can become overgrown. This makes it difficult to see or harvest those squash and apply your weekly feed.
A zucchini that becomes overgrown has leaves that touch the ground. This makes a great hiding and breeding ground for insects. Leaves that touch the ground also make the plant more prone to getting powdery mildew. A good pruning allows proper airflow and makes it easier for the gardener to quickly identify and correct deficiencies and insect problems,
What to prune
Start with the leaves that touch the soil. Those leaves make the plant easily accessible to insects while providing them safety. As previously mentioned leaves that are in constant contact with the soil hold moisture on the leaf and encourages powder mildew.
Old leaves that are damaged are also a good candidate for removal. Removing these leaves that are generally located closest to the ground open up the plant and allow light and airflow to reach the plant. Remember the 6 laws of plant growth?
When to prune
To reduce the stress on the plant it is best to prune while its cool. During the spring or fall I prune in the morning or in the evening. During our brutal hot summers I try and prune in the evenings.
How much do I prune
When I’ve neglected to prune as I should I try to remove less that 50 percent of the total leaves. It is NOT ideal as this causes more stress to the plant. Ideally I want to remove no more than a quarter of the leaves at any one time.
The pruning will stimulate the plant to grow and replace the leaves you just removed. Keep it fed and watered in conjunction with routine pruning and you will have lots of zucchini.
What tool do I need for pruning?
For this particular job a good pair of ordinary kitchen scissors will work quite well. But for pruning a Mittleider garden in general I love my Fiskars Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snips. If you don’t have a pair watch for them on clearance at Walmart this fall.
Lets face it, zucchini is one of those garden crops that is always abundant. Your family and neighbors so as to avoid being given yet another couple zucchinis. Because we have so much we are finally left with taking care of all that zucchini. Rather than let ours go to waste we have taken to shredding our zucchini, putting two cups into a quart sized bag and then freezing it.
What are the best ways of shredding zucchini?
Initially we used a box shredder we had on hand to shred our days harvest of zucchini. While it worked and didn’t cost us any money the darn thing was VERY time consuming to use.
As a result of this guy growing tired of using that thing we talked it over and finally decided to break down and purchase a food processor. Without a doubt, it is far less work or time consuming to use our little food processor. Because I’ve seen how much faster and easier the food processor makes this task I’ve absolutely got to recommend it. Unless you only plan on shredding a few zucchini the process is the only way to go.
In addition, I might add that we decided to go with a low end food processor model and spent around $30 total. Any food processor you can find capable of shredding will work.
We put two cups of zucchini in each freezer bag
Today we sat down and shredded the zucchini from the garden. At the end of this little project we had 22 cups of it to put in the freezer for zucchini bread we all love. To date we now have over 100 cups of shredded zucchini processed.
Our favorite recipe calls for 2 cups of zucchini so we pre-measured into into quart size freezer bags.
Here they are ready to go into the freezer.
Why shred and store in quart sized freezer bags
Shredding your zucchini and storing in freezer bags like shown in the above picture really maximizes space in your freezer. It stacks well with very little waste space.
Most noteworthy, we have discovered that as a result of shredding and putting two cups of it into each baggie that it becomes easier to offload on friends and family. They’re more willing to take it when it requires no work on their part.
Do you want to maximize the amount of zucchini you get from your garden and make it easier to control insects? Pruning your zucchini will help.
Our quest to be self reliant and grow a healthy garden