Planting zucchini on the compost is a good idea, because it brings benefits both for the plants and for the compost pile. The effort you have to do it is relatively small, but the benefits are very great. Especially in small gardens where every square foot counts, use the compost pile to get a bountiful harvest of delicious fruit from a small area. If you don’t like zucchinis, you can also plant cucumbers or squash in the compost.
Is it wise to plant zucchini in the compost?
Gardening enthusiasts often disagree on whether or not to plant in the compost pile. Some advocate it, others are against it. What is clear is that there is no universal answer to this question. Planting the compost has both advantages and disadvantages. If you want to plant the compost pile, there are a few basic things you should keep in mind. Only open composters are suitable for planting, as the vegetables get enough light and heat there.
In the case of closed composters such as thermal composters and rapid composters, the most you can do is plant the site and provide a natural privacy screen with climbing plants or a hedge, for example. In addition, vegetable plants need time and rest to develop. If you plan to grow zucchini or other vegetable plants on the compost, you need to create several compost piles so as not to disturb the plants in their development.
One you use to compost the fresh waste, on the other compost can mature, and the mature compost you use for sowing or growing vegetables. To grow on finished compost, among other vegetables, zucchini is particularly suitable, because it requires a nutrient-rich substrate, as provided by the compost.
- The vegetable belongs to the so-called heavy eaters. A lot of nutrient-rich humus is necessary for the zucchini plants to grow well. Therefore, it makes sense to plant zucchini directly on the compost.
- The vegetable prefers a sunny location and high temperatures. It will find both in the compost. At the same time, the broad leaves of the plants provide shade for the compost. This prevents excessively high temperatures and reduces evaporation.
- The roots of the zucchini plants loosen the compost and ensure good aeration. This saves you from having to turn it over.
- The flowers of the vegetable plants look very decorative. They beautify the compost pile. The broad leaves hide the waste. In addition, the yellow flowers are said to be not only beautiful to look at, but even a delicacy.
- Zuchini plants are dioecious. This means that some plants produce male flowers, others female flowers. If you want a rich harvest, or any harvest at all, you need 2 young zucchini plants, one male and one female.
- On nutrient-rich soil, the plants grow very strongly. They can shade the compost, slowing it down, even if it is a warm location.
Planting zucchini on compost – here’s how to do it
Plant zucchini on compost, you will not only be rewarded with the decorative flowers, but can hope for a bountiful harvest, if you follow a few things.
The plants need a sunny location and plenty of warmth. Only in a warm location with a lot of sun the plants develop properly. In partial shade or even in the shade, the plants produce only leaves and flowers. You will hardly harvest vegetables. Sowing or cultivation requires mature compost.
You can sow the plants as well as use them as seedlings. However, direct sowing outdoors is usually not recommended. It is better to use pre-sown plants from the end of April or after the Ice Saints in mid-May. You can simply buy young zucchini plants at the nursery or garden center, or you can sow the seeds in larger pots in April and start preplanting them indoors. Space the young plants far enough apart, as they form tendrils and need plenty of room.
Each plant needs about 1.5 – 2 m² of space. The distance between 2 plants should not be less than 80 – 100 cm
Zucchini plants require little care. Growing in garden and planting out compost is easy. The soil should be loose and well supplied with organic fertilizers. This is true of finished compost. Make sure that the soil is moist. Therefore, water zucchini regularly.
The vegetable is considered to be very productive. Already one or two zucchini plants bring a rich harvest. Depending on the weather, the first fruits are ripe after 6-8 weeks. The young fruits taste best. They are ready for harvesting when they reach a size of 15 – 20 cm. The harvest period lasts from June to October. After harvesting, the flower develops again, from which fruits develop again.
Not only people, but also snails love zucchinis. Therefore, if you want to harvest undamaged fruits, you should draw a snail fence around the plants or lay out snail bait.
You probably know that zucchinis are very versatile. Many people have their own recipes for preparing the fruit. But did you know that you can also eat zucchini flowers? In fact, they are a real delicacy. For preparation, the male flowers are preferred, because they do not set fruit anyway. They are smaller than the female flowers. In principle, however, the female flowers are also suitable for consumption. They taste pleasantly nutty and can be eaten raw as a salad or stuffed and baked. For consumption, take the unopened flowers and remove the pistil beforehand.
Other vegetable plants for the compost
Zucchinis are far from the only plants you can grow directly in your compost pile. Vegetables you can plant in the compost include other heavy growers such as:
Never plant on freshly made compost. Rotting produces high temperatures that cause damage to seedlings. Plants will form only a thin stalk. Make sure you have the right balance of carbon and nitrogen. Too much carbon will result in bitter fruit.
Planting cucumber on the compost
Cucumbers have similar requirements for location and heat as zucchinis. Therefore, they are also suitable for planting the compost heap. You can either buy seedlings in the nursery or garden center, or grow them at home indoors from mid-April. Outdoor sowing is not recommended because it takes too long for the plants to develop. For each adult plant you need to provide a climbing support.
Cucumbers need a lot of water. In case of drought, you should water in the morning. Use water at room temperature. Harvest time in the open ground begins from July. Never tear cucumbers from the stem, always cut them with a sharp knife.
Cucumbers, squash and zucchinis belong to the same plant family (cucurbits). They do not get along with each other, as they are competitors.
Planting pumpkin on the compost
In addition to zucchinis, pumpkin is also a plant that is well suited for the compost, because it has a high demand for nutrients and has similar demands on the site. Pumpkin is made for the compost because there would often be no room for the plants in the actual vegetable patch. In addition, the compost benefits from the pumpkin plants because their broad leaves provide shade and the roots aerate the substrate.
You can sow pumpkin indoors starting in April and set the young plants outdoors starting in mid-May. After the Ice Saints, you can also sow pumpkin directly into the open ground.
Do not put pumpkin directly on the compost pile. The plants have tremendous nutrient needs and would leach the compost. The best place is at the base of the compost pile. There the pumpkin can absorb the nutrients from the leachate.
You will need to allow about 3 square feet of space per plant. Pumpkin has a high water requirement. A fully grown plant needs up to 10 liters of water on a hot day. When growth stops in the fall, also stop watering.
Harvest time is between the end of August and the end of October, depending on the variety. You can recognize a ripe pumpkin by its hard skin, the color typical of the variety and the hollow sound when you strike the pumpkin with the flat of your hand.
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