Are probably the most popular of this group, they need neither peeling or seeding, merely wash or trim for serving raw or cooked. For serving in salads blanch the whole fruit for about 2 mins in boiling water to remove the bitterness – dry, slice and serve. Plant in a sunny spot protected from strong winds. The soil must be well-drained and rich in humus. Prepare in autumn by digging in lots of organic matter and applying a general fertiliser just before planting. Most households will need only a few plants, so prepare a few planting pockets rather than sowing long rows.
Sowing and Planting
3 seeds 1” deep and a few inches apart at the centre of each pocket. Cover with a large jar or cloche to hasten germination. When the first leaves appear, thin out to leave the strongest plants, alternatively buy 3-4 plants. That should be all you need in regards to courgett es. Two plants for marrows and squashes. Make sure plants that have been grown indoors or bought are hardened off before planting, this is where you put the plant out for several days and then bring it in at night.
Pinch out tips of the main shoots of trailing varieties when they reach 2ft long. Renew slug pellets at the first sign of damage. Keep soil moist, water copiously around the plants - not over them. Place black polythene or mulch around the plants in summer before fruit formation. Once the fruits start to swell feed every 14 days with a tomato fertiliser. Keep fruits on a tile to prevent rotting or slug damage.
Remove fruits for immediate use when they are still quite small courgettes 4”, marrows 8–10” long. Push thumbnail into the surface by stalk. If it goes in with ease the marrow is ready to pick. Take care when cutting them, cut where they lie and then lift them away
Courgette Varieties Include:
- El Greco
- Green Bush
- One ball
- Long green bush 3
- F1 Tiger Cross
- Table Dainty
- Spaghetti - this variety is slightly unusual. If the whole fruit is baked or boiled the insides can be scooped out completely and used as an alternative to spaghett.
- Marrows grow in the same way as courgettes. Just leave fruits to mature before cutting, boiling these can produce a watery tasteless dish, so baking or braising is better.