Growing Zucchini

March 10, 2009

They are easy to grow!

One of the great charms of growingCourgettes (Zucchini) – is how easy they are to grow - an amusement of growing Courgettes/Zucchini is how quickly they turn from dinky little vegetables into thundering great marrows – almost overnight it seems!

However, don’t let this put you off. Small vegetable marrows, known in Northern Europe as courgettes, and in the United States as Zucchini, are among the easiest things to grow and the most useful in the kitchen for a variety of dishes.

There are several named varieties depending on where you live, but they all are simply; green or yellow cucumber-like or possibly small round green vegetables.
To start off, you can buy seeds of your chosen variety, or if they are available in your local garden centre, small plantlets, ready for you to grow. Don’t be tempted to grow too many – just as with tomatoes, where the seedsman sells you fifty seeds, when all you need is six plants, so with courgettes. I have gotten sufficient fruits off two plants that were doing really well to last me all summer.
Plant in the spring (March, April or May) and by the summer you should have a bountiful harvest (June, July or August).

Start your seeds or baby plants in small pots in the warm – a windowsill is fine, a greenhouse, of course, is wonderful.
Feed them a diluted plant or tomato food, (or a diluted general purpose fertilizer) every second time you water them and pot them on into bigger pots when they start to show roots through the bottom of the pot they are in.

They are greedy! When you see how they grow, you won’t be surprised at the amount of extra feeding they need, the growth rate, (provided the plants are somewhere warm and sunny), is amazing.
Ideally Courgettes grow in a well-manured vegetable plot, but I grow mine in fourteen-inch plastic pots as I have very little garden space. Where water and food are concerned I do treat them very much like tomatoes, that is to say lots of both.
They will need some room to sprawl over the edge of the pot and then keep on going, producing a fruit every three or four inches of stalk, so a raised bed (or even putting the pot on an upturned bucket) will come in handy.

There will be two types of flower (almost identical and very attractive) and the stalk of the female one will swell to become a courgette in a few days.
Do cut them before they grow too large (although they are still perfectly good to eat when bigger) otherwise you will find that you suddenly have fruits the size of a football to contend with.
Do try growing Zucchini – they are pretty in the garden and delicious in the kitchen.
As always,
Happy horticulture,