Italians call them Zuccini and there is a tasty variety of that name but we call them courgettes or baby marrows. Left too long before picking they become less tasty marrows but young Courgettes are great Veg!
Growing Courgettes is easy if you follow a few simple tips.
- Sow on the edge or point down, to avoid wet rot, in April-June.
- Allow 2-3 feet between plants
- Seed can be quite expensive 25p each but a couple of plants will feed a family.
- Keep Courgettes well watered and fed, they grow quickly and their main constituent is water.
- Feed twice a week with a liquidÂ feed such as Tomorite or Phostrogen
- Keep them slug free or the fruit will be eaten first. The spiny leaves will be left for a later snack but that won’t help you.
- There are male and female flowers on each plant. The female has a baby fruit behind it see picture above and when pollinated it will swell and grow.
- The male flower just has a slim stalk but can pollinate several females. (see below).
- If there are no insects you can gently put the male pollen into the open female flower which will then close after fertilization.
- Pick the Courgettes when young and small. They will have more flavour and it will encourage more fruit.
- White powdery mildew can be a problem on the leaves but I do not treat it with chemicals. Remove badly infected leaves.
- Courgettes will plump up into marrows if left on the vine.
- Flowers are delicate yet turgid when young and can be eaten, often stuffed.
Courgettes are an easy crop to grow and well cared for will produce an excellent crop of tasty veg.
Global warming in the UK, has made this crop even more successful and can be grown out of the greenhouse, even in the north of England.
Tips for Growing Courgettes
- Sow from late March to May in pots to make easy planting out later. Make sure soil is well manured and fertilised, the plant is a heavy feed.
- Early courgette plants should be grown in a warm greenhouse to protect against any frost and cold temperatures. They do well in full sun.
- Courgettes do better in warmer climates, heat will give a bigger and faster crop.
- Protect from slugs in the early stages of growth. But, once established they are fairly pest resistant.
- Crop regularly when courgettes are 4-6 inches. Cropping encourages more vegetables to be made and stops them turning in to marrows.
- When growing in the greenhouse be ruthless in removing any fungal leaves or fungal vegetables. This fungal disease can easily spread if not kept in check.
- If you grow courgettes in the greenhouse you may find the leaves can become too big. If this is the case, you can remove some of the bigger leaves without much loss. It is important to ensure good airflow.
- When vegetables are forming it is important to keep well watered and well fed. A proprietary tomato feed is an excellent food for the cropping vegetable.
Varieties to Try
- All Green Bush is widely available and a good general purpose plant.
- Early Gem is an F1 hybrid with slim dark green fruit.
- Gold Rush has the trendy yellow skin and firm flesh
- Tromoncino d’Albenga is a climbing or trailing plant.
- For round fruit try Tondo Chiaro di Nizza.
- Bush Baby F1 is a new variety to me sold as a small marrow (I thought that was a courgette!)