Zucchini, scientifically known as Cucurbita pepo and named Zucchini in English, belongs to the Cucurbitacea family. It’s one of the beneficial food crops cultivated in all countries and is available in various types and colors, including green, yellow, and striped zucchinis.
Zucchini is a monoecious plant, meaning both male and female flowers exist on the same plant but are separate from each other. Its fruit is an inflated ovary that contains seeds.
The zucchini fruit has low calorie content, recommended by some for weight reduction. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, although it loses much of its content during cooking and preparation due to heat.
The cultivation of zucchinis in protected greenhouses along the Syrian coast has progressed over the past years, reaching approximately 3000 cultivated houses this year. Planting starts in the middle of the tenth month, and harvesting begins about 40 days after planting, continuing until the fourth month of the following year (according to the service). The fruits are sold at very good prices since they become the sole source of the crop in Syria, where cultivation stops in cold inland areas that lack protected agriculture.
Key tips to ensure a good season
- Avoiding excessive plant density: It’s preferred to plant only 4-5 single rows in the greenhouse, with a distance of 1 meter between seedlings.
- Balanced fertilization and avoiding excessive nitrogen fertilization that increases the plant’s susceptibility to fungal diseases, especially powdery mildew (Botrytis).
- Continuous monitoring and not delaying intervention to control insects, especially whiteflies, and fungal diseases, particularly powdery mildew.
- Ensuring insect entry, especially bees, as most pollination is mixed, and manual pollination can be carried out using a brush to ensure the transfer of pollen from male flowers to female flowers on the same plant.
- Selecting the appropriate variety, which should be resistant to viral diseases.
The Shakira F1 zucchini variety produced by Apollo company is considered one of the most successful varieties in this cultivation due to its important specifications. It’s a Bulbous Type Anita hybrid, highly resistant to viral diseases, with high and continuous productivity. Its fruits are homogeneously dark green, highly desired, and the flowers firmly attached to the fruit. This variety is resistant to powdery mildew.
Diversification in cultivating crops within protected greenhouses is a healthy condition, not an adventure. It ensures the sustainability of production at an acceptable level for each crop and maintains good prices for these crops, ensuring profit and stability for farmers.
by Eng. Nour Haydarieh