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Growing CourgettesGrowing Courgettes

 Courgettes are epic fruiters, and easy to grow, once the fruit gets going they seem to double in size every day and as general rule they are best pick when 4-8in in length, or if round type slightly larger than a cricket ball.  Don't plant too many as they seem to be constant cropers and the more you harvest the more they seem to produce.

The Courgette

The key to growing courgettes and summer squash is to not plant too many of them as they are super producers.  In the height of summer each plant will probably produce as many as 4 fruits each, so if you plant 10 plants you are going to be able to supply a supermarket!  For the average family two or three green type courgette plats, plus a couple of yellow or may be round ones and for a little bit different how about an unusual shaped variety?

Benefits of Leeks

  • Low in calories
  • Great source of beta carotene
  • Useful source of vitamin C and folate

Drawback

  • Can't think of one.
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  Sowing
  Growing
  Harvesting
  Courgette Varieties
  Problems
How to Sow Courgettes

Courgette SeedlingsCourgette Seedlings

When to Sow Courgettes

  • Sow Indoors: April to May
  • Plant Out: May to June
  • Sow Outdoors: June

How to Sow Courgettes

  • In April or May, sow indoors at a minimum temperature of 20˚C, I use a small square peak pot to start seeds off in then transplant to a 10cm pot when the root start to appear through the sides on the peat pots.
  • These should be hardened off before planting out
  • Sow outdoor seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep.
  • Row spacing 90cm (36in) apart.

Courgettes are very susceptible to frost, so don't sow too early.

 

Growing Courgettes

Courgette SeedlingsCourgette Seedlings

Sowing & Growing Courgettes

1. Two weeks before planting or sowing seed outdoors, make planting pockets 90cm (3ft) apart for courgettes, 1.2m (4ft) for marrows, 90 cm (3ft) for bush plants of summer squashes and 1.5m (5ft) for trailing plants of summer squashes.

2. For indoor-raised seedlings, plant outside on top of your planting pocket in early June, hardening off (acclimatising) before doing so. Do this by moving them into a coldframe for a week or if you don’t have a coldframe, move plants outdoors during the day, then bring in at night for a week, then the following week, leave them out in a sheltered spot all day and night.

You can also grow courgettes, marrows and summer squashes in growbags or containers (at least 45cm/18in wide). Plant one or two per growbag, or one per container.  

Planting out Courgettes

3. Keep the soil constantly moist by watering around the plants, not over them. They need plenty of water, so sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plants when planting out.

Courgettes

4. Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell.

Examples: Any of the quality Tomato Liquid Feeds

Courgettes-mp12
Harvesting Courgettes

Harvesting CourgettesHarvesting Courgettes

When to Harvest Courgettes

  • Harvest: When fruits get to 10-15cm long

Tips for Harvesting

  • Harvest courgettes when 10-12.5cm (4-5in) long.

  • Regularly picking courgettes while they are small will ensure a long cropping period.

 

Courgette Varieties

 

Courgette Varieties to try

  • All Green Bush Courgette
    • High yields of dark green fruits that should be cut when about 8-10cm long. Crops over a long period when harvested regularly..
  • Ambassador F1 Courgette
    • A early variety with dark green fruits.
  • Atena Polka F1 Courgette
    • Brighten your dish with this bright yellow fruited variety. Excellent flavoured courgettes and very prolific..
  • Battani F1 Courgette
    • An early high yielding variety producing large quantities of very dark green small fruits.
  • Clarion F1 Courgette (Lebanese Type)
    • Very early into fruit. Compact bush habit bearing light green mottled fruit in good quantities and with slightly tapered shape. Harvest when 12 to 15cm long.
  • Defender F1 Courgette
    • Heavy yielding variety which is resistant to Cucumber Mosaic Virus. Deep green fruits are produced all summer long if cropped regularly. Bush habit.
  • Early Gem F1 Courgette
    • Very early crop of dark green fruits with a lighter green stripe. Dual purpose as the fruits can be left to form good shaped marrows.
  • Floridor F1 Courgette
    • An exciting spherical courgette, very productive with golden yellow fruit.
  • Defender F1 Courgette
    • Heavy yielding variety which is resistant to Cucumber Mosaic Virus. Deep green fruits are produced all summer long if cropped regularly. Bush habit.
  • Midnight F1 Courgette
    • A slightly speckled courgette with a good flavour, compact and bushy plant. Ideal for growing in containers. Completely spineless and so easier to pick.
  • Nero de Milano Courgette
    • Medium early, dark green, cylindrical fruit of about 18-20cm in length. Erect, open plant habit for easy picking.
  • Partenon F1 Courgette
    • Self pollinating, no need for insects. Will crop all season, summer to autumn. Ideal for container growing. High yielding. Excellent flavour.
  • Tondo Di Nizza Courgette
    • Light green mottled fruit but the difference is that Tondo is round. Pick when the fruits are about 10cm in diameter. Trailing habit, needs space.
  • Zucchini Courgette
    • Smooth skin of really dark green. Slim and cylindrical with excellent internal quality. Ideal for freezing.
  • Tromboncino Courgette
    • Unlike any zucchini you have ever grown or seen!  Fruits grow long and curved with bell at the flower end.  Harvest fruits at around 30cm long.  Fruits will grow to a spectacular metre long and are still good to eat at that length!  Plants are vigorous climbers or can be left to trail on the ground.

 

Problems Growing Courgettes

Powdery MildewPowdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew:

This is a common fungal disease for squashes, especially in dry conditions when plants are under stress. You will see white, powdery patches of fungus on leaves, stems and in severe case, the fruits.

Remedy:

  • Mulching and watering reduces water stress and helps make plants less prone to infection.
  • Promptly removing any infected shoots will reduce subsequent infection.
  • There are no chemicals to treat powdery mildew, but you can use plant and fish oils as a preventative.
  • A study in 1999 using Milk Sprays at 40% milk and 60% water have been proven to prevent Powdery Mildew, this is best sprayed every 10 days on a sunny afternoon for best results.

No Fruit:

No fruit, or fruit rotting when very small: This is a physiological problem, caused by the growing conditions, not a pest or disease. It is a problem when the weather in early summer is cool and this causes inadequate pollination.

Remedy:

This is usually a temporary problem and once the weather starts to improve, so will pollination. You can try to hand-pollinate plants yourself by removing a male flower (they don’t have a swelling at their base) and brushing the central parts against the centre of a female flower (female flowers have a swelling at the base – this is the beginning of the fruit). But this is a bit of a hassle, and normally the plant will correct this problem itself.

Grey Mould:

This is a problem normally in wet conditions and is usually worse on weak or damaged plants. The mould usually enters through a wound, but under the right conditions even healthy plants will be infected. You will see fuzzy grey mould on affected buds, leaves, flowers or fruit. Infected plant parts eventually shrivel and die..

Remedy:

Hygiene is very important in preventing the spread of grey mould. If you see grey mould, remove the infected material and destroy. Grey mould is encouraged by overcrowding, so make sure you plant your pumpkins at the appropriate distance apart. No fungicides are approved for use by amateur gardeners against grey mould. Products containing plant and fish oil blends may be used but are unlikely to have much impact.

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