An exceptionally great plant to interest children in gardening is the zucchini, a member of the squash family.
Because zucchini are good sized plants that produce quickly and prolifically, they enable young gardeners to enjoy quick success. In addition, their large seeds make it easy for young children to plant.
Seeds can be sown indoors four weeks before the last frost or they can be planted directly into the soil when it becomes warm. The soil should be rich and well drained. The seed (one per hill) should be planted with its pointed end down. The hills should be 1 metre apart.
Picking promotes growth, as does removing dying or diseased leaves. Rarely is pollination a problem, however it can be assisted by removing the male flower, which has a long stem, by pulling back the petals to expose the stamen and inserting it into a female flower, which has a short stem.
To maintain production until frost, plant only a couple hills initially and then plant additional seeds when the first planting begins to flower. Zucchini thrive with full sun, weekly watering (2 ½ cm) and monthly feeding.
The attached photo was taken on Canada Day, 2019. The seed was planted indoors on May 9 and transplanted to the garden on May 16. A plastic bottle was placed over the plant to serve as a greenhouse until the weather warmed.
Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc., is a member of the Dunnville Horticulture Society.