Two zucchinis on a wooden surface
(Image credit: Denisfilm / Getty Images)

Summer wouldn't be complete without the traditional bumper crop of summer squash, such as zucchini. The Black Beauty zucchini plant is a heavy producer with glossy, firm young fruit. Summer squash plants have been cultivated in Mexico and South America since 5500 BC. They are related to wild gourds and wild forms of summer squash flourish in semi desert regions of Latin countries as well as the American southwest.

History of Black Beauty Zucchini

The Black Beauty zucchini plant was introduced in 1957 as one of the earliest and most productive of the darker skinned zucchinis. The fruit has deep blackish green skin, firm and straight fruits - which are at their peak when less than 6 inches tall. However, we know what really happens when somehow one or two hide among the leaves until one day you discover a monster of a fruit. And I mean monster. I have pulled out zucchini that are as long as my calf and about as big around. I am philosophical about these huge vegetables. If they occur, I count it my duty to make several batches of chocolate chip zucchini bread. Yum! There are several categories of summer squash. Black beauty belongs to the zucchinis, which gets its name from the Italian "zucca," their name for squash. Summer squash are classified by their shape. Zucchini fruits have straight lines, are uniformly cylindrical and have smooth green skin. Some zucchinis have light green, yellow or even variegated skin. Black beauty is such a deep green as to almost seem black. It has a classic summer squash profile and uses that range from baking, pickling, sautéing or even fresh. Other summer squash to try are the crooknecks, scallop, straightneck, cocozelle and marrow.

Growing Black Beauty Zucchinis

Zucchinis (Cucurbita pepo) practically grow themselves and are useful in many recipes and preparations. Try growing Black Beauty zucchinis for their intense color and prolific production. This variety of summer squash takes 45 to 65 days to harvest. Once the plant starts producing fruit, they will appear regularly all season long, until cold temperatures kill the plant. Sow the seeds outside 2 to 4 weeks after the date of the last frost in a sunny location on hills of prepared soil. Germination is usually in 5 to 10 days with average moisture and soil temperatures of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C). Plant 2 to 3 seeds per mound. The history of Black Beauty zucchini indicates they were developed for the compact bush and heavy production. You won't be disappointed with the heavily bearing plant and the flavorful attractive fruit.

Bonnie Grant