Friday, June 10, 2011

Italian Zucchini Favorites of 2011

This spring I grew an assortment of Italian zucchini
 from different regions of Italy.

Bianco di Trieste was a symmetrical 3 ft wide bush with beautiful pale green fruit. Seeds were planted in mid-February and the first female flowers opened in 4 weeks. The fruit were best when harvested just after the flowers closed.

Bianco is an excellent variety to grow for male flowers and small zucchini. I would not recommend it for growing mature fruit as they aren't particularly attractive when full grown.

Romanesco were big vining bushes - they had the largest leaves of all the varieties I trialed. The first female flowers opened in 5 weeks. The plants produced long ribbed fruit that can be harvested small or mature. Romanesco was a good variety to grow as an all purpose zucchini as it produced good quality flowers as well as mature fruit.

Striato di Napoli (Cocozelle) and Lungo Fiorentino were lovely plants with frilly leaves. They also grew into 3 ft wide bushes and the first female flowers opened at just over 5 weeks. Striato had smooth stripes and Lungo had ribbed stripes. Both were good varieties to grow for male flowers and small zucchini that were harvested just after the flowers closed.

All of these zucchini were grown in 15 gallon SmartPots and planted from seed between mid-February through early March. The female flowers, when harvest just after they closed, remained attached to the fruit for at least 24 hours and most were large enough to stuff with cheese.

In Kihei, February was an ideal time to plant zucchini from seed. The plants survived the ever present powdery mildew better than in the warmer months. Planting in February also avoided the most destructive late spring and summer zucchini pests - pickleworms and melon fruit fly larvae.

Gourmet Seed and Seeds From Italy are good sources
 for Italian zucchini seeds.