If you’ve only got a small garden or a back patio for planters, bush-type zucchini varieties are the best option. With an upright growth habit, these varieties are smaller and require less space between plants than their sprawling counterparts.
For growing in planters, use a container at least 12 inches (30 cm) deep and 24″ (60 cm) wide. Plant 3-5 seeds and thin to one plant when first real leaves appear. In the garden, plant single seeds or transplanted seedlings 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) apart. Popular bush varieties include:
- Black Beauty
- Bush Baby
- Patio Star
If you’ve got more space available in the garden, look into zucchini plants with a sprawling growth habit. There’s a bit more variety within this type of zucchini, and you’ll find many open-pollinated and heirloom seeds available.
Sprawlers require at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) between plants. They can be planted in single-plant rows like bush varieties, but are often planted in “hills” instead, with 2-3 plants grouped together in a mound of earth with their vines trained to sprawl in different directions.
Trellising sprawling zucchini can be a challenge as their vines lack the many grasping tendrils that help true climbers stay upright, but draping the vines over a slanted lattice can improve ventilation and reduce the risk of disease. Favorite sprawling zucchini types include:
- Italian Ribbed Zucchini
- Black Hawk
- Shooting Star
- Costata Romanesco
Not all climbing summer squash are true zucchini, but they can be prepared the same way: steamed, fried, stuffed, grilled, you name it! The space you’ll need depends on the type of trellis you use. Plants can be close together to be sure they can reach the supports, but make sure you leave room to access the trellis yourself.
Vines can climb 10-15 feet (about 3-4.5 meters), so plan your trellis accordingly. It will also need to be quite sturdy. Trellises made of wood or metal hold up the best, since vines get big and heavy, and can crush flimsy structures. If you’re looking for to try climbing zucchini, check out these varieties:
- Black Forest
- Table Dainty
- Long Green Trailing Courgette
Whether you’re growing on a small back porch or a big backyard, zucchini can thrive in your garden. Just be sure to choose a variety that matches your space, and you can have tasty zucchini all season long!