Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pruning Squash and Zucchini

Someone asked me about pruning squash and zucchini. This may not be correct BUT here's what I learned from someone else and tried it and had MAJOR success. As squash and zucchini ripens you need to pick it thus allowing the plant to create more. BUT if the plant becomes overgrown and too crowded then it stops producing veggies. Over crowding does not allow for air and sun to hit down at the roots where the veggies grow. Pruning allows air to circulate and sunlight to hit the roots. If you prune too much the plant is exposed. Below are some pictures after I've pruned. I'll try to explain w/ the pictures how it works.
Pictures 1 and 2 are a view of the plants showing the new growth on the LT and roots on RT. After a section produces veggies I cut back all the leaves pushing the plant energy towards new growth. Leave a few leaves around new growth to provide the shade it needs.
Pictures 3 and 4 continue on the same line. Showing the old places that produced veggies and how the new growth keeps going. Picture 4 with my hand in it shows where the root decided to produce 2 new growth sections. Zucchini plants will develop multiple new growth sections at the same time. Currently I have 1 plant that has started 5 new growth sections. Again prune off leaves that do not have veggies growing underneath.

Pictures 5-7 show new growth sections; roots are behind the new growth. Picture 5 shows a close up of new growth w/ baby zucchinis (3) and new flowers and leaves growing. Picture 6 shows new growth from previous week with a full grown zucchini. As part of pruning if you see smaller leaves that when grown will stunt the growth of a zucchini go ahead and prune it. You can see in this picture that I pruned a few things around this zucchini to let it grow. Picture 7 shows new growth of squash. New growth for both plants grows upward until it reaches a certain size then lays back down on the ground.
This may seem like a lot of information or even a lot of hard work but it's not really. We ended up doubling the amount of produce we got this year. We had neighbors who's plants started producing the same week as ours and we are still going where theirs has ended.


Leslie said...

I love these last two blogs! Keep 'em coming. I plan to follow your tips when I am able to plant my garden.

Di O'Ferrall said...

Hi, I read your blog with interest - I'm growing golden zucchini which have spread and the leaves have got huge - but when I have pruned them, even quite gently, the plant has promptly died. Have you ever seen this?

Paul & Angela Jenkins said...

Only when bugs have entered to the interior of the plant and destroy it from the inside out. You might want to prune further away from new growth. Or research the type of bugs you have in your region and try to treat them.