We guide you through harvesting your own courgettes- a plentiful and simple vegetable to grow at home.
Courgettes are one of the easiest - and quickest - crops to grow yourself, and provide enough veg to keep you going throughout the whole summer. For more expert advice on growing your own vegetables visit GardenersWorld.com.
Harvest all summer long
Courgettes are one of the easiest and most productive crops you can grow yourself. They are extremely fast - from sowing you can be eating your own within six weeks - and just two or three plants should be enough to keep you going right through the summer.
Homegrown courgettes are full of flavour, with none of the bitterness of some shop-bought ones, and growing your own means you can choose from the many varieties only available to buy as seeds.
What you'll need...
- Courgette seeds
- Multi-purpose compost
- Hand trowel
- Plastic pots
- Seed trays
1. For early crops, sow in seeds trays on a windowsill now. Sow one seed per cell into moist multi-purpose compast. For later crops, sow directly outside in late May when the frosts have passed.
2. Transplant you strongest seedlings into individual plastic pods, and compost the weaker plants. Contine to grow indoors until they are ready to plant outside after the last frosts.
3. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot and dig a hole, adding a trowel of compost to the soil. Plant out your courgette plants 90cm apart. Give thema mulch of 5cm of compost to help the soil hold moisture.
4. Give your plants a weekly liquid feed and harvest regularly when they reach 10cm long
- Courgettes need plenty of water, but take care always to water at the base of the plant only or they'll rot.
- Keeping the soil permanently just moist is ideal.
- The large fleshy flowers can be eaten, but fewer courgettes will develop if you harvest too many.
- Remember that courgettes are young marrows, so you can get two different crops on one plant if you let some develop into marrows.
Best for flavour
- Zucchini: A classic, dark green courgette that crops early and has a delicated texture.
- Tondo Di Nizza: A pale-skinned spherical fruit that's full of flavour and never gets tough, even when harvested larger than it really should be.
- Parador: Long, bright golden-yellow courgettes with a smooth texture and lots of flavour for a yellow variety (which tend to be milder).