How To Grow Vegetables

How To Grow Courgettes

Actually courgettes aren't vegetables at all they're classed as a fruit like a tomato. But we like to think of them as vegetables. So let's find out how to grow courgettes

Courgettes are best suited to a sunny but sheltered part of your garden, with well-drained soil. Courgettes require very fertile soils so dig a hole around a foot square and fill it with well-rotted manure or garden compost, topping off with the soil you removed from the hole, form a small mound. Repeat this process with additional mounds approximately every 3 feet apart.

Warning! Cold weather can kill the young Courgette plants rapidly so you must make sure there's no danger of frost when planting. To combat frost sow the courgette seeds indoors around 6 weeks before sowing outdoors in compost in 8cm pots, no more than 1cm deep. Keep the in a sunny windowsill aiming for a temperature of 15 degrees or slightly more

Planting Courgettes

Start to harden off the Courgettes by placing them outside in the garden for a few hours each day, bringing them inside at night, gradually increasing the amount of time you leave them outside for. This will acclimatize them prior to planting out. Plant Courgettes out when the seedlings have 3-4 leaves. Plant the seedlings in pairs in the top of each mound, to the same depth as in their pots.

Alternatively if you can sow the seeds directly into the prepared mounds (as above) in late spring or early summer, so long as there is no likelihood of frost. Thin out the weaker of the pair as the seedlings develop. Like Celery, Courgettes need plenty of water to grow well, so placing a mulch around the plant, or covering the bed with weed control fabric will improve the water retention.

Caring for Courgettes

First of all, Courgettes are really easy so as long as you keep watering them. Do not miss out on regular watering or they will die, this is very important once the flowers and fruit appear, adding a liquid feed will encourage the growth of fruit. Also be aware that some varieties of Courgettes grow upwards and will need staking up, so be ready to prop them up if necessary.

The common types of Courgettes are trailing plants that will need training to get the maximum crop. This can be done (like you would with tomato plants) by pinching out the growing tips of the plant once they are around 60cm high. This will ensures that all its growth efforts go into producing fruit, not leaves.

The zuccini fruit are formed by pollination of the flowers by insects such as bees hence a sheltered position will be more frequented by insects. After a cool winter self pollination of the female flowers may have to done by hand by taking a male flower – which is the smaller flower without a swelling behind the petals, that is already producing pollen and push this one into an opened female flower.

Whilst easy to grow Courgettes have two main enemies slugs and aphids. Counter the first with slug pellets, and counter the second by rubbing them off by hand or wash away with a jet of water. Alternatively grow marigolds nearby and as hoverflies like them and they then eat the aphids.

Harvesting your Courgettes

Start harvesting your Courgette crop as soon as they reach between 10cm and 15cm or slightly longer. Courgettes will take around 8 weeks to reach this size if all has gone. Cut the stems attaching the fruit to the plant with a sharp knife. Never break Courgettes off. A regular harvesting of your courgettes will encourage more fruit to grow, so check them at least every other day. For problems see Courgette Pests And Diseases

If you like gourgettes then why not try growing gherkins

By Richard Allen -

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