After the courgette shortage in January I asked myself ‘why don’t more people grow them?’ They are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and are an extremely versatile addition to dishes! There are so many varieties to add excitement and colour to your plate, from yellow round courgettes to cylindrical lime and forest green fruits! You can eat the flowers, small fruits or leave them to grow as big as a marrow! What’s not to love about them! Best of all they can be grown anywhere, from a huge garden to a decent sized pot on a balcony!
This month I am teaming up with Boundless by CSMA to help get members growing some super easy produce and get everyone falling in love with gardening and cooking again. Below is all the tips and tricks on how to grow your own courgettes and in a few months, I will be releasing some fantastic recipes on how to use your very own crop to feed your family. So, let’s get started!
Sow indoors early April for an early harvest. A few plants usual provides a prolific crop for the whole household so you could stager sowing one seed every couple of weeks to ensure you can keep harvesting all the way into October.
Simple sow seeds on their side in a small 7cm pot filled with seed compost at a depth of about 2.5cm. Give a little water and place on a sunny windowsill, you should see germination in 5-7 days.
When the seedling roots begin to poke through the bottom of the pot it’s time to move them onto something bigger! This time use a potting on compost to fill around the seedling in a 12cm pot. The seedling should be kept moist in a sunny place with a minimum temperature of 15 degrees.
Tips & Tricks!
Every week turn the pot around to stop the seedling growing lopsided towards the light. Harden seedlings off in May by putting them outside during the day to acclimatize them to cooler conditions. When the risk of frost has passed either dig a hole in your garden three times the size of the seedling and fill with well-rotted manure. If growing in large pots use a mixture of multipurpose compost and well-rotted manure.
Courgettes are hungry plants that need a lot of water and nutrients, rain water will be a lot more beneficial compared to tap water, that’s if you can collect it!
Once in flower you can give them a liquid tomato feed weekly which is important for pot grown plants as there is a limited number of nutrients available. The main issue people have with cucurbits like courgettes and squashes, is pollination. Cucurbits produce two flowers, a male and a female. The female has a fruit growing behind the flower which needs to be pollinated by the male flower. Nature should do this job perfectly however sometimes pollinators are hard to find! If your fruits shrivel and drop off, then the likely cause is pollination. You can either pick the whole male flower, strip off its petals, and rub the pollen bearing anthers onto the female’s stigma. Or you could use a paintbrush to take some pollen from the male to the female.
Regularly picking courgettes will ensure a countless supply as the plant will go into overdrive to reproduce, with the right conditions you’ll be harvesting fruits as little as 12 weeks after sowing. Pick the fruits when they reach around 10cm in length and once you start, the plants will keep cropping for some time to come!
In a few months’ time, I will be revisiting my courgette crop and showing you some pictures of how they are coming. Along with some super summer recipes you can use your courgettes in that are perfect for the whole family.
A Bit About Boundless!
Boundless is all about good times by providing experiences, things to do and exclusive savings to all its members. Boundless focus on doing more, saving more and getting you inspired to try new and wonderful things. If you would like to see some of the amazing gardening trips, savings and tips they currently have click here: www.boundless.co.uk/Garden2017