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Courgettes

 

Ease of Growing  [Scale 1-5] - 1 (Easy)

How Time Consuming

Once established regular watering and feeding is all that is required.

Recommended Varieties

  • Organic ‘Defender’ F1 Hybrid – is resistant to cucumber mosaic virus and has a very upright growth habit.
  • Organic ‘Soleil’ F1 Hybrid – Prolific variety of tasty golden-yellow fruits.
  • Organic ‘Dundoo’ F1 Hybrid – Dark Green shiny fruit with an open upright growth habit so easy to harvest.
  • ‘Venus’ F1 Hybrid – a compact grower, ideal where space is limited. Smooth, spine free stems. Prolific cropper.

Home Grown Vs Supermarket

Much better to harvest courgettes immediately before eating as they do not store that well so will always be freshest just harvested from the garden.

Best Sites and Soils

All Cucurbits require moisture retentive but well-drained soil. Add plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost when planting.

When to sow

Sow seed in seed trays in the greenhouse in March/April or sow outside late May-June once risk of frosts has passed.
When to plant:     Harden off and plant out when the seedlings have 2/3 leaves.
Distance between rows - Space about 1 metre (3 ft) apart.
Distance between plants - Space about 1 metre (3 ft) apart.

When to harvest

Between 10-14 weeks depending on variety – harvest regularly when courgettes are still young and tender.

Problems to look out for:

Slugs love to tuck into your courgette crop.  Apply nemaslug to the soil at six weekly intervalls throughout the growing season to keep them in check. 

Meet the Author: Jo Blackwell
Jo  Blackwell

Jo Blackwell is new on the Harrod Horticultural block and has recently taken over her post as Horticultural Advisor and Kitchen Gardener in Stephanie's Kitchen Garden. She caught the gardening bug when she bought her first home 18 years ago.  Her first greenhouse soon followed and she later gained an allotment, where she grows her own organic fruit and vegetables.

 

Further Information

Watering / Feeding - Plants are hungry so soil needs to be fertile and moist. When fruits start to form feed use liquid fertiliser every week or two.  Watering is important at this stage the more the plants are watered at this time the better the fruits will be.

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Guide to sowing and planting - Seedlings do not transplant well so sow them individually in small pots to avoid root disturbance when planting in their final growing position.

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Problems to look out for - Powdery Mildew : Too much water on the leaves will encourage powdery mildew which is best to be avoided if possible. 
No fruit or rotting fruit when small : This is a problem caused by growing conditions often when the weather is cool.  This causes inadequate pollination but should be a temporary problem and once the weather warms up so will pollination. You can remedy this by removing a male flower brush the centre parts against the centre of the female flower (female flowers have a small fruit behind them, male flowers don’t).
Grey Mould : can be a problem in wet conditions but is usually worse on weak or damaged plants. Avoid over crowding and plant at the appropriate distance apart.

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How to harvest by type - Use a sharp knife to cut courgette when approx. 13cm (5”) long.  The larger they grow the more watery they will be.

Storing - Courgettes are best eaten fresh, will store in the fridge for only a few days before going soft.

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