If you are starting nice and early in the year and are in a country like this one (Ireland) you don’t have to let the cold weather delay you. You can get a head start by planting indoors – if you don’t have a greenhouse you can start them off on a sunny window ledge.
Begin by sowing seeds about an inch deep in compost – in small pots, or trays. Keep them wet or they won’t forgive you When you start to see shoots and the weather warms up you can plant them outdoors.
ARE YOU STARTING LATE MAY ONWARDS?
HOW TO GROW COURGETTES STARTING OUTDOORS
Start outdoors – now there’s no danger of frost you can sow the seeds straight into the soil. Try and get a place with sun and shelter. Improve your soil by adding some well-rotted manure or compost. ( I mix a bit of seaweed in mine.)
Once your seeds have germinated you can take out the weaker seedlings to space them out and let the stronger ones thrive (there’s no mercy in the gardeners world.)
Talking about space, courgettes suck up a lot of water from all around them so they need plenty of room – leave about 2-3 feet between plants. They will grow a lovely large canopy of leaves to hide under.
You really don’t need more than two plants for one family unless you really love them. They tend to be very bountiful once they get going but if you have too many you can always give them to your friends.
Don’t forget – they need a lot of water. If you look at a courgette it makes sense – they are big green and watery, not small, dried and dead!
To give them a boost you can use tomato feed, or make your own like I do – with a tablespoon each of Epsom salts and sugar mixed in a watering can.
IF YOU ARE STARTING IN SEPTEMBER OR OCTOBER – SORRY BUT YOU ARE TOO LATE!
(AT LEAST FOR IRELAND AND UK)
TUG OF WAR
Don’t get into a tug of war with your courgette plant and try to pull it out of the ground. It won’t let go unless you break it, so use a knife, or, if you’re like me, use a scissors because I find that easiest and I always do the easiest thing in the garden.
It’s not hard to grow courgettes but it is easy to forget to harvest one or two of them, as they tend to be so well hidden under their own leafy green umbrellas.
If you do forget to harvest one or them they will grow and grow until they turn into marrows. Now, marrows are pretty impressive looking things but personally I don’t think marrows are as nice to eat as courgettes.
Strangely, lots of people seem to get a kick out of growing them as big as they possibly can! I can’t think why – there’s no accounting for some people…
For more about courgettes click here.
If you have learned how to grow courgettes so well that you now have a massive glut and are sick and tired of courgette fritters, stir-fries, soups and all that stuff – you might be interested in something really nice and yummy to do with your courgettes that involves chocolate – if so click here.