I’ve been planting zucchini since I was a kid and always enjoyed the versatility of this vegetable. My favorite would be harvesting to grill with chicken and I also like fresh baked zucchini muffins.
The last couple seasons I’ve had difficulty keeping zucchini plants healthy. This year it happened again, the green leaves went from yellow to brown and parts of the plant looked like somebody sat on them. (The last one could have been Dixie)
Instead of getting frustrated I decided to tackle these issues before giving up and ripping out the entire plant. To do that I had to get my spring planting notes for details.
- I planted Italian zucchini seeds in a new area and bed in April.
- Growth was quick with limited harvest for one plant.
- When June arrived, it looked like this plant and harvest had been through a war.
- We’ve had more rain than normal – I’m calling it crazy rain!
- This was a new bed and the soil could be lacking nutrients.
- I was late getting mulch applied.
- I’ve been very hands off this year which could be the biggest factor of all.
What Causes Yellow and Brown Leaf’s?
- Culprit Number #1 – Excessive watering
- Culprit Number #2 – Root Rot Infections
- Culprit Number #3 – Soil Fungus also known as verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt
I looked at these factors and because I’m an natural gardener who doesn’t use products I took a step back and watched this plant for about a week. I also stopped watering between rainfall after I covered the bed with hay mulch from our pastures.
Then I removed all the brown and yellow leaves with clippers by cutting them from the base. At this point the plant was growing in three directions and it was only a matter of time before the growth had the ability to go explosive.
What was Going on?
I looked over the entire plant including the leaf’s I removed seeking squash bugs, insect eggs or anything bug related that could be causing the problem and nothing was apparent. I ruled out the soil because on the opposite side of the garden cucumbers were growing with the same new soil base and they’re doing great; the only difference is I planted the cucumbers in May.
Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, melons and squash fall under the same family tree, Cucurbitaceae. Many times, when I’m researching problems I’ll compare their activity.
I went back to the excessive watering, which I couldn’t do much about because it was falling from the sky. However, I stopped watering during my watering schedule and let the soil dry out between rainfall and things started to change.
Then I Clipped the Plant Again
After that week of inspection, I drastically clipped the plant leaf’s back a second time towards the base, including the good ones. I began from the center and even removed one of the long extensions so I could inspect things deeper. Again, no bugs were present and everything green I removed was really healthy.
By removing all that weight and backing off on my watering the plant began to grow again, which made me realize the soil was good. The hay mulch helped maintain the rain water which was another advantage because our temperatures began to rise several weeks ago.
I burned the debris and there was a lot, then made additional notes in my garden planner. Looking back, it was easy to see that rotational planting was a good choice from the beginning as it helped me rule out common pest problems.
I’ve mentioned many times on the blog that gardening offers the opportunity to learn new things all the time. It’s also about never giving up, never accepting failure and learning as you go because we can gain wisdom through research. That’s one of the things I love about planting a garden it’s full of lessons that make us better people.
New Growth Populated
After removing expired growth; this plant was left to rest and rebirth new life; it’s now producing a healthy harvest. This happened because I didn’t accept failure and I saw an opportunity to learn by staying true with an all-natural gardening system that really does work.
I don’t believe gardens are supposed to be filled with perfection all the time, it would be great but not realistic. Sometimes when we remove our failures we forget we’re removing an opportunity to gain knowledge.
Improve that garden you love so dearly and let your soul flourish through the process, it’s absolutely amazing and I’ll share more about that as time goes on.