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As many will know, zucchini is a typically Mediterranean fruit and as such requires a temperate and not windy climate. Below 12 ° C this vegetable ceases to grow and, at even lower temperatures, seriously risks dying. At temperatures ranging from 16 ° C to 28 ° C, it is at ease. Consider this information if you decide to set up a zucchini crop on your balcony or terrace.Sowing or planting
In normal climatic conditions you can bury the seeds from April to June, or postpone sowing between May and July in case of cultivation in less temperate regions (for example, in terraces or balconies of mountain houses). Make sure that the temperature, both day and night, does not drop below 18 ° C. Otherwise, you could set up mini greenhouses with cloths that can be purchased in normal garden shops.
It is a good idea to plant a maximum of three seeds per hole by placing them vertically on the ground, being careful to keep the narrower part facing down. You can use a type of pot about 35 centimeters deep and sufficiently large: it will be suitable for hosting a good zucchini plant.
If you are in a hurry to get started and intend to skip this step, it is possible to buy ready-to-use seedlings on the market.
The courgette plant has a particular predilection for medium-textured types of soil, sufficiently rich in organic substances and humus. Take care to keep irrigation constant and punctual because this vegetable is particularly demanding in terms of hydration. Furthermore, with good irrigation, you will avoid the formation of only male flowers, known to be sterile. It is necessary to pay due attention during the watering phase: wetting the leaves insistently favors the onset of cryptogamic diseases.
As with the tomato plant, even the courgette plant particularly likes a fertilizer based on nettle macerate (or, instead, another type of fertilizer for immediate use). However, the creeping variety must be secured to a lattice height no less than one meter. The trellis will guarantee a regular and correct growth of your plant: it will bind the stems as they grow vertically.
Collection and use
Courgettes, like aubergines, are particularly voluminous and bulky vegetables. This is an aspect to be taken into account if one wishes to undertake the cultivation (horizontal or vertical) of this plant on its own balcony or terrace. On the other hand, besides being exquisite and suitable for any preparation in the kitchen, they are also extremely generous in terms of production. In fact it is possible to see the first fruits already after only two months from the sowing and to continue to collect them for many weeks. Try to collect them when the fruit is not yet fully developed; in this the courgette plant will produce a greater number of fruits!
It is also possible to grow other vegetables inside the same pot: in this way you will save space and time. But be careful! Not all vegetables can be associated with the courgette plant. For example, some of the varieties of vegetables that are best associated with growing in the same pot are tender lettuces, fresh climbing beans and even onions!
Another useful tip: in addition to the most common diseases that normally affect vegetables, courgettes face particular dangers, such as the attack of aphids (small parasites of plants similar to lice) that attack the leaves and cause the drying, or cryptogamic diseases such as oidium, mosaic and gray mold. Paying due attention to these risks and making timely repairs will make the difference between a failure and a healthy and tasty cultivation of zucchini on a balcony!