Courgette plants proliferate and fruit in abundance. You can pick the fruit three to four times a week if the weather is pleasant. However, the spreading nature of these plants demands a space of one square metre/yard each. If you’re short on growing areas, you can also grow them in growing bags or large containers.
Courgettes grow well from seed. Therefore, you can sow them indoors in the pots. However, you can then transplant them outdoors to the space where you want to grow them.
Sow the seeds indoors in colder regions or when you’re sowing for earlier crops. The best time to sow the seeds indoors is mid-to-late April. Make sure the temperature ranges from 18–21°C while sowing indoors.
Sow the seeds individually in the pots containing around 3 inches of compost. In these pots, sow the seed up to ½ inch deep.
Late May or early June is the right time to sow the seeds outdoors. Follow the steps below to sow the seeds outdoors:
- Dig in a lot of well-rotted manure or homemade compost.
- Sow 2-3 seeds in the centre of the mulch.
- Sow the seeds in around 1 inch in depth.
- Cover the sowing site with plastic, jar, or cloche. Keep the spot covered up to the maximum time after germination.
- Remove the smaller and weaker seedlings. Then, make sure there is only one (the strongest) seedling there.
There is another option if you don’t want to sow the seeds. You can buy the young plants from the garden centre in spring. Then, you can plants these young plants in late May to early June when there is no risk of frost.
While transplanting the plants outdoor in June, make sure the plants are hardened off. You can do this by exposing the young plants to cold frames for a week.
You might be wondering what to do if you don’t have cold frames? In that scenario, you can take the pots outdoors in a day. And can bring them back indoors at night for a week. Then, in the next week, you can keep your plants outside at the sheltered spot for all time.
The proper growth of Courgettes demands rich soil and a sunny spot. Here’s the procedure to prepare the planting site for the plants raised indoors:
- Dig a hole in the width and depth of the spade.
- Fill it with mulch and soil.
- Apply Vitax Q4, a general-purpose fertiliser, over the soil. Make sure you have applied two handfuls of fertiliser per square meter/yard.
- Plant one courgette at the centre. However, space the plants 3 ft apart if you’re growing several plants.
- Plant one or two plants in a container or a bag.
It would be best if you watered the plants regularly because Courgettes need a lot of water. However, make sure you don’t splash the leaves while watering the plants. Sinking a 6 inches pot into the ground with your plant is a helpful tip. Now you can water the plant. This process will ensure the movement of water to the plants’ roots.
Moreover, it’s also essential to apply the high potassium liquid fertiliser every 10-14 days. A tomato feed is a good option. You can apply the fertiliser when the fruits start swelling.
Courgette plants usually fruit for several months. The fruiting season may start from the early summer and lasts up to the first frost.
- Harvest the small fruits regularly to encourage the growth of more fruit.
- Harvest the courgettes when they are around 4-5 inches in length.
You can also eat the flowers. They also have a mild flavour of courgette. So use the flowers in salads. Besides, you can also fry them.
Leaves become stunted and shrink as white powdery deposit forms on the leaf surface.
- Grow the plant in colder conditions
- Keep the soil moist
Fruit rotting or no fruit
Neither a pest nor a disease is responsible for this problem. However, it’s a physiological problem. It mainly occurs in the cool early summer, which causes inadequate pollination.
This problem will go away in better weather conditions. However, you can also go for self-pollination.
Now the question is how you will hand-pollinate?
- Firstly, you have to remove the male flower.
- Secondly, you have to brush the central part. Make sure you’re brushing at the female flower’s centre.
This process is time-consuming. In my view, you should let the plant correct this issue on its own.
Grey mould is fuzzy and grey fungal growth. It starts with discoloured patches. It mainly occurs in humid or damp conditions. The damaged parts of the plants are responsible for the entry of spores into plants.
Mould is also dangerous for ripening fruits, such as strawberries. The black spores of the mould stay throughout the winter.
- Remove the damaged parts of the plant as soon as possible.
- Clear all the debris infected with the mould
- Reduce humidity in greenhouses. You can do so by avoiding the overcrowding of seedlings and young plants. Keep the greenhouse ventilated to reduce the humidity. By doing this, it will help to take the mould away from your plants.
For some great recipes using this versatile vegetable, go to the Olive Magazine website
I can find around 15 different varieties of courgettes. Here are some of them:
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