Botanical name – zucchini (Cucurbita pepo var. Giromontina), herbaceous plant, a variety of common pumpkin. It belongs to the genus pumpkin, pumpkin family. Popular vegetable.
Origin – South, Central and North America.
Lighting – light-requiring.
The soil – neutral sandy, light and medium loamy, well fertilized.
Watering – moisture-loving.
Predecessors – potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, peas, early vegetables.
Landing – seeds and seedlings.
Grassy shrub or climbing plant, perennial, in temperate zones is grown as an annual. It has a powerful erect or creeping stem of a cut form, five-lobed, large leaves with thick petioles. All parts are covered with prickly spike pubescence. Zucchini – a plant with cross-pollination. It has large, bright yellow, bell-shaped unisexual flowers:
- men’s – on long stalks;
- women – on short.
The fruit is cylindrical or oval, elongated, sometimes round, the color varies from white to bright yellow, may be green, striped or spotty. The flesh is white or creamy, in the phase of technical ripeness of tender taste, the testes are coarser, savory or lightly sweet. The bark of young fruit is thin, ripe ripe. The seeds are light cream, have a lateral rim.
As one of the pumpkin varieties, it was brought to Europe in the 15th century by Columbus from America, where it was used for food several thousand years ago. For 300 years, grown in Italy in botanical gardens as an ornamental plant, zucchini was eaten only in the 18th century. He came to Russia in the XIX century from Turkey and Greece, from where he got his name – “kabak” in Turkish means “pumpkin”. Initially, only the white-fruited form was known in our country. Varieties with dark green, yellow, striped coloring of fruits, widespread in Italy, appeared here recently, several decades ago, and began to be called zucchini. According to its characteristics, zucchini of this variety compares favorably with white-fruited ones by higher yield, compactness and weak branching of the bush.
Below are photos of white-fruited zucchini and zucchini.
Useful properties of the zucchini
Zucchini is widely used in the kitchens of many countries. Use young immature fruits, called greens, which contain a large amount of water (up to 95%), as well as 0.6% protein, 2.55% sugars and 0.13% fat. Such chemical composition of zucchini, as well as the presence of a small amount of fiber, makes the vegetable low-calorie and easily digestible, which allows its use after appropriate heat treatment in baby food and in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
The beneficial properties of zucchini are due to a rich set of vitamins and minerals. The pulp contains vitamins C, A, PP, thiamine and riboflavin, folic acid (vitamins of group B), seeds contain a lot of protein and oil containing vitamin E. Large amounts of potassium and magnesium make vegetables useful for cardiovascular diseases, and it iron improves the blood.
Zucchini has a little fiber, but its dietary fiber is able to absorb toxins, salt, bad cholesterol, so the vegetable does not irritate the mucous membranes and is recommended for various restorative diets, including after food poisoning. Dishes from young fruits have a slight diuretic effect, are indicated for overt and covert edema, improve liver function, and are useful for diabetes because they contain natural sugar.
Due to its vitamin composition and the presence of antioxidants, zucchini strengthens the immune system and slows down the aging process.
Popular varieties and hybrids of zucchini
There are a large number of varieties of zucchini, both white-fruited and zucchini with green, yellow, striped and even black fruits, as well as F1 hybrids, differing from the varieties by their evenness of fruits, friendly yield and high productivity:
Among the varieties with light fruit are common:
White Swan, early high-yielding variety with white fruits, characterized by good transportability and keeping quality;
White-fruited, early, very fruitful, unstable to diseases;
Gribovskie 37, common early variety with light green cylindrical fruits suitable for canning;
Roller, ultra-fast, resistant to low temperatures;
Anchor, early ripe, with light yellow bark and pulp, high in carotene, recommended for dietary and baby food, well kept and transported;
Popular white-fruited hybrids:
Belogor F1, one of the first domestic hybrids, early ripe, cold-resistant, resistant to diseases;
Nemchinovsky F1, compact, with long fruits up to 1700 g in weight; high-yielding.
The best varieties of zucchini zucchini grown in our country:
Astoria, with elongated-cylindrical dark-green squash, high yield;
Aeronaut, dark green with light spots, leaves and petioles do not have prickly pubescence, grows well on any soil;
Tsukesh, popular early ripe variety with green fruits about 40 cm long;
Zebra, early, light green with dark green stripes, cold-resistant, zucchini to 900 g;
Zucchini squash hybrids:
Golda F1 highly productive, early, golden color;
Gold cup, with a powerful bush, on which up to 5 yellow-greens grow at the same time, has high taste qualities both at the stage of technical ripeness and at full ripening of fruits, it is well preserved;
Souvenir, early, fruitful, cream-green fruits with dark green blurred stripes, oval, medium size.
Pests and zucchini disease
When grown in open and closed ground, the plant suffers from a variety of pests and diseases. Squashes in greenhouses and under film shelters are often affected by a spider mite, shoots – a germ fly. Common pests of zucchini, like other pumpkin crops – melon aphid and whitefly.
The most common diseases are anthracnose, white rot, and especially powdery mildew.
A characteristic feature of the zucchini culture is its precocity, so the use of chemical protection measures is undesirable. For the prevention of lesions, a deep autumn digging, crop alternation, destruction of the affected specimens and plant residues are necessary. In greenhouses and greenhouses, the temperature should be observed, without sudden changes in temperature, the soil should be replaced or disinfected, the seeds should be subjected to preplant treatment (heating, disinfection).
To protect plants, you can use folk remedies: soap solution, onion peel extracts, garlic, tomatoes.
Only in extreme cases at the early stages of plant development with a large number of pests is it possible to treat it once with insecticides, as well as spraying with colloidal sulfur, copper chloroxide and other approved preparations from powdery mildew, downy mildew, gray mold and other fungal diseases.
Use and storage of zucchini
Young immature fruits are used to prepare numerous dishes, they are fried, baked, stuffed, cooked salads, caviar, pancakes, and canned for the winter. The collected greens are kept at a temperature of + 4 … + 6 ° C and humidity of about 85-90%, most often on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in a plastic bag with holes or enamelled container. In this case, the shelf life of zucchini – Zelentsov is about 15-20 days.
Ripe, but not overripe zucchini can be stored fresh up to six months. To do this, the fruit must be intact, have a stem, be in a dark, dry place, in room conditions or cellars. After February-March, the seeds inside the vegetable can germinate, and the pulp will become bitter and unsuitable for food, so it is recommended to peel the zucchini at this time, remove the seeds, cut the edible part and freeze it.
When storing zucchini zucchini in cellars in the absence of condensation, their taste qualities remain unchanged until the new harvest, which is another advantage of this kind of zucchini.