Zucchinis are popular vegetables that are grown all over the world. Because they are easy to cultivate, many gardeners grow them in backyards, planters, and small gardens.
In the United States, the top states that grow zucchini are California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and New York. Around the world, China, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Mexico are also regularly among the top ten producers.
However, because this vine cucurbit enjoys mild, temperate weather and is weak to frost and extreme heat, the places which grow zucchini for commercial production are much more limited.
To grow zucchinis for mass production for the market, they must be grown in mild, temperate climates. Luckily, many places in the United States and around the world fit this description. Many places that already cultivate vegetable crops can also produce zucchinis.
What States Grow Zucchini?
Michigan is responsible for the highest production of zucchini in the United States, often ranking first in both acres planted and total production. California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia are other states that regularly rank the highest in commercial production of zucchini.
States with more mild temperatures in both the summer and winter, however, tend to have the longest growing season and biggest zucchini yield.
Most of Michigan’s crops are grown in the southwestern part of the state. Oceana, Montcalm, Bay, Berrien, St. Joseph, and Monroe Counties have the biggest acreage of farms.
California is regularly responsible for the second-highest commercial zucchini production in the United States’. Because of the temperate climate and lack of frost, it is grown in most of the state.
However, the southern areas of California are responsible for most of the production. These areas include the Imperial Valley, Central Valley, Kern to Merced Counties, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Orange Counties.
Because zucchini is a more delicate squash, the more extreme climatic areas of California, such as interior desert regions, cannot grow the vegetable. Most of it is grown in the south along with the coastal areas.
Texas is also a regular producer of zucchini, often ranking second or third, depending on California’s crop production. Zucchinis and other summer squashes are grown in almost every region of Texas because of its mild weather. However, the far west region is mostly desert and therefore does not grow zucchini. The Eastern, Northern, and Lower Valley regions produce the most.
Likewise, Florida can also grow zucchini in all parts of the state. The northern region of Florida grows zucchini from February to April and August to September. Central Florida is responsible for the crop from February to May and August to September. And South Florida grows it mainly in the winter months, from August to March.
For Georgia, commercial zucchini production happens mostly in the Coastal Plain region of South Georgia and is usually available through the winter months from August to March.
What Countries Grow Zucchini?
The United States is one of the top producers of zucchini in the world, often ranking among the top ten. Other countries that are leaders in the production of zucchini include China, Ukraine, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, and Italy.
China is one of the leaders in the commercial production of zucchini for the Asian market. Most of the production of zucchini comes from the eastern part of China, closer to the coast. The top producers of zucchini in China include Langang, Baoding, Wuqing in Tianjin, Yingxian, Shanxi, and Shouguang.
Ukraine also produces zucchini mostly for the Eastern European market. The southern steppe regions of the country, such as Kherson, Nikolaev, and Odessa, are the primary producers in the country. Crimea and Zakarpatye also produce zucchini.
Russia also produces zucchini mostly in the European part where the forest-steppe zone is located as well as the Volga region. For the southern parts of Europe, zucchini production comes mainly from Turkey and Italy. In Turkey, the Central Anatolia and Marmara regions produce the most zucchini for exportation to other countries.
In Italy, the mild climate means that zucchini can be produced almost everywhere in the country. Sicily, Lazio, Puglia, Piedmont, Campania, Veneto, Calabria, and Emilia-Romagna are the cities and regions that produce the most.
For the Western part of Europe, Spain is the top producer of zucchini. Most zucchini production comes from the southern region, specifically Almeria and Murcia. Almeria is known for producing a variety of vegetables in greenhouses all over the region to export to Europe.
Finally, Mexico is a major producer of zucchinis in the Americas. This is especially true for winter zucchinis that are exported to the United States. The northwest region, Sinaloa specifically, is known for the zucchini production. These regions, on top of the United States, produce most of the world’s zucchinis and export them to other countries.
Where Does Zucchini Come From?
Like most squashes, zucchinis were originally from the Americas, more specifically Mesoamerica dating back to 5500 BC. Its ancestor, a small cucurbit, was believed to be brought over and cultivated in Northern Italy approximately 50 years after colonization of the Americas began.
The first known descriptions of modern zucchinis happened in a published work in Milan in 1901. From there, it was brought over to the United States where it began to gain popularity in the 1920s, likely taken to America by Italian immigrants and primarily cultivated in California. By 1928, the state of New York reported that zucchini was among 60 cultivated varieties.
The ancestor to the zucchini was a small cucurbit (a type of squash). It is believed to be much shorter and rounder than the elongated zucchini we know today. As it was cultivated in Italy, the fruit of the zucchini lengthened into a more oblong shape. The seeds became smaller and more edible. Furthermore, it is believed that the taste of the zucchini became sweeter and less bitter.
It is known by many names including zucchini (Italian), courgette (French), and baby marrow (South African English). All of these names mean small marrow.
Where Does Zucchini Grow Best?
Zucchinis grow best in temperate climates. Temperate climates can be found across much of the world, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia have climates suitable for zucchini production. Africa and Australia also have temperate climates, but these are less common than in the Northern Hemisphere.
Zucchini is weak to frost, which can limit the growing season. In general, zucchini is easiest to cultivate in temperate climates. Temperate climates have a general classification of a temperature above -3 C (26.6 F) but below 18 C (64.4 F), though some classifications have the minimum set at 0 C (32.0 F). For zucchini production a temperature range between 55-75 degrees is about ideal.
Itt is best to plant after the last frost. If a climate has extreme heat in the summers, but mild winters it is best to plant in the winters to protect the delicate plant.
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