Zucchini is a warm-weather vine crop that produces the greatest amount of fruit during the summer months. Zucchini seeds prefer to be directly sown into the ground once soil temperatures have reached at least 60 degrees.
While it is possible to get a head start on zucchini seeds by starting them indoors, it is not necessarily advised. Zucchini as a crop are resistant to being transplanted since it can disrupt and damage the root system, however it can still be done without much trouble.
Like other pointed seeds, zucchini seeds enjoy being planted point-down into the soil, as this utilizes the least amount of energy required to produce a root system and improves the rates of germination.
Generally, Zucchini seeds are planted two inches deep into the ground, in hills two to three feet apart, or rows four to give feet apart.
Should I Soak Zucchini Seeds Before Planting?
Planting seeds in the proper orientation is an important way to improve germination rates. If the seed orientation is pointed down, the roots will begin to grow downward and not waste energy.
Contrastingly, if the seed orientation is pointed upward, the root system will have to change direction, utilizing a significant amount of stored energy.
Generally, seeds with points–such as watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins, and zucchini–should be planted point down.
This is a successful way of starting zucchini seeds because it gives the seed a head start in root development; the root will emerge and begin to expand down into the grown, and the stem will grow up towards the sun.
This concept, in which the roots grow towards the pull of gravity and the stem away from the pull of gravity, is known as geotropism.
Which Way To Plant Zucchini Seeds
Warm-season vegetables, like zucchini, are thought to sprout quicker if seeds are soaked prior to planting.
Generally, zucchini seeds are soaked in room temperature overnight but not more than 24 hours. This time frame is important because seeds can be over-soaked, resulting in the drowning and death of the seed.
It is not necessary to soak seeds before germinating them. They can grow and sprout fine without doing so. In my garden I’ve found that soaking seeds before planting them actually has been detrimental to germination rates and so I don’t soak any seeds before planting.
How Many Zucchini Seeds To Plant Per Hole
Roughly four to five zucchini seeds can be planted in the same hole. Once plants grow to be two to three inches tall, plants can be thinned out. I prefer to plant one seed per hole with holes closer together and then thin the plants out when they reach 4″ or so in height.
How Deep To Plant Zucchini Seeds & Transplants
There is a slight variance in regards to the depth in which Zucchini seeds should be planted. In general, the depth ranges from a half-inch to two inches. A general rule of thumb for sowing seeds into the ground is that they should be planted at a depth 2-4 times their diameter.
According to the University of Minnesota Extension, once the soil has warmed to a proper temperature, zucchini seeds can be sown about two inches deep into the ground.
Cornell University Cooperative Extension suggests that seeds be planted a half-inch to an inch deep in small hills. The hills should be spaced three to four feet apart. If planted in rows, it is recommended that seeds be planted four inches deep, spaced 4-5 feet apart.
For early zucchini plants, seeds can be started indoors. Seeds can be planted in two to three inch deep pots or cells roughly 4 weeks before transplanting them outdoors.
For indoor plants, three or four seeds can be sown into the same cell, and can be thinned down to one to two stronger plants after a few weeks. After the final frost has passed, transplants can be moved outdoors, spaced one to two feet apart.
Should I Start Zucchini Seeds Indoors
There is some debate as to whether or not zucchini seeds should be started indoors. In general, zucchini seeds prefer to be sown directly into the ground as opposed to being transplanted.
The transplanting process disrupts the root system that zucchini plants develop and the process can also cause damage to the plants.
Despite this, it is still possible to begin zucchini seeds indoors.. Carefully transplant the plant into its final growing spot while trying to cause little disturbance to the root system because vining plants are fragile during this stage.
While it is possible to begin zucchini seeds indoors, it is not really necessary. The transplanting process provides threats to a crop such as zucchini, which much rather prefers to be sown directly into the ground, to avoid any damage to the fragile root system.
Comment below if you have any thoughts on planting zucchini seeds.