Pros: inexpensive seed, easy to grow, good harvest, delicious, packed with nutrients
Cons: people may prefer a traditional green zucchini
Every year I plant several varieties of zucchini. When looking over seed catalogs and online websites, I always try to find zucchini with dark skin. That is why I buy Black Zucchini heirloom seeds, and have been enjoying their bounty.
What is so Important about Black Zucchini?
As you may have heard via the news, dark skinned vegetables are higher in certain vitamins and minerals. Zucchini is naturally high in vitamins A, and C, as well as folate, potassium, and manganese. It is also a good source of dietary fiber. However, the darker skin of this Black Zucchini also makes this a great source of beta-carotene.
Health articles have said that beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant that helps the body in numerous ways. The news also reports that it is beneficial in helping eye, skin, and memory problems.
Black Zucchini seed takes 50 days of growing before it yields zucchini. This is an heirloom seed that was originally listed in 1932. These plants will produce a nice amount of squash, however, the yields are not as large as hybrid zucchini plants produce.
I start most of my vegetable plants indoors and grow them under fluorescent lights until the ground outside is warm enough for transplanting the plants into the garden. I use Permanest plastic trays to hold plastic yogurt cups that are filled with soil (a mix of potting soil and perlite, which lightens the soil for seed germination). Holes are punched into the yogurt cup bottoms for drainage.
When planting zucchini, I place two seeds in each yogurt cup. I have always had good luck with zucchini germination, so usually both seeds sprout. Catching the seedlings young, I will transplant one of the plants into its own yogurt cup. The transplanted seedlings always do well.
Once the weather is warm enough, I move the zucchini plants outdoors to "harden them off" so that they acclimate to the outdoor environment. I either place the plants on the lawn in the shade for the day, bringing them in at night. Or, I place the plants in a cold frame.
Zucchini plants are very forgiving. It is easy to transplant the Black Zucchini into the garden. The plants like full sun, and I make sure to plant them several feet apart. Zucchini plants tend to sprawl their big-leafed stalks a bit as they grow. I use organic fertilizer during planting, and when done, I place a "collar" around the plant to prevent cut worms from killing it. I make the collars from large disposable plastic drinking cups, cutting each cup in half and gently placing it like a wall around the plant. Once the plant becomes older, and the stalk tougher, you can remove the collar.
If you prefer, you can also plant these seeds directly into warm soil once the danger of frost has passed.
True to its name, this zucchini is dark in color. It is a dark green-black (more black than green). As the squash grows in size, the darker it becomes.
To harvest the squash, hold the zucchini and gently twist it in a circular motion until it releases from the plant. You can also cut the squash stem with a pair of shears. While the squash can be picked at any size, it has a sweeter taste when picked at about 6" long.
Not only is the zucchini sweeter at this size, but the seed cavity is also small.
Zucchini has many great ways to eat it. Just search for zucchini recipes on the internet; I've found some good ones that way. Some of my favorite zucchini dishes include sautéing the squash (zucchini slices in a skillet with butter, onion and green peppers) ... it's also great in casseroles, quick breads, sliced in salads, and even as a veggie for dipping.
When the squash becomes too big, it is ideal for grating and freezing. I grate the zucchini in a food processor, squeeze out the excess liquid, and pack the zucchini in plastic food tubs (Ziploc containers work well). I usually freeze it in two-cup amounts, which is what most of my recipes require. Then during the winter, I have "fresh" zucchini at hand for baking bread and using in casseroles that require grated zucchini. Tastes great!
Purchasing the Seed
This seed comes from Pinetree Garden Seeds. This year they are selling a packet of 15 seeds for 90-cents.
I enjoy growing Black Zucchini. It is a great addition to my garden. Growing several varieties of zucchini and summer squash also make for more interesting stir fry dishes. Plus, the Black Zucchini is filled with nutrition. My neighbors love it when I share the bounty!
I hope you found this review useful.
Enjoy the day,
Please read my other reviews:
Squash Seed: Gadzukes Zucchini, Zucchini Italiano Largo, Zephyr Squash
Radish: Cherriette, French Breakfast
Seeds: Ace Red & Green Peppers, Small Sugar Pumpkin, Matina Tomato
Cucumber Seed: Marketmore Cucumber, Spacemaster Cucumber
Bean Seed: Purple Beans, Soleil Yellow Beans
Other Plants: Canada Red Rhubarb, Egyptian Walking Onions, Jerusalem Artichokes
Ziploc Containers with Snap ‘n Seal Lids
Perma-Nest Plant Trays
Black & Decker Cordless Battery Mulching Lawnmower
Copyright 2009 Dawn L. Stewart