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Once known as the ‘vegetable marrow’, it is a bush or trailing annual which can produce large, heavy fruits on good soil and with careful cultivation. Nowadays many are picked while still immature as courgettes and used in a much wider range of dishes than marrows ever were. The marrow is thought to have originated in northern Mexico and the southern United States. Courgettes are best picked when 10-15cm/4-6in long and eaten as soon as possible, while if marrows are left to reach a large size, they can be stored for future use. Read more
How to grow Courgettes
Courgettes do best in an open, sunny position and in fertile, moisture retentive, but not waterlogged soil. A pH of 6.5- 7.0 is ideal for the plants. The addition of well-rotted organic matter into the soil prior to planting is beneficial to both soil fertility and moisture retention.
When sown direct, seed requires a minimum soil temperature of 13°C/55°F. Alternatively, it can be sown in small pots four to six weeks prior to setting out in the plants’ cropping positions. Outdoor sowings are best made at a depth of 2.5cm/1in, setting two seeds per station at a distance of 90-120cm/36-48in apart. Discard the weaker seedling after emergence. Keep the plants well-watered at all stages of growth; they will also benefit from mulching to minimise water evaporation in hot spells.
Common Courgette Diseases
Powdery Mildew MD – a fungal disease which causes white, powdery growth on foliage. Common where plants are in dry soil and have humid or damp air at top growth. Keep plants well-watered, but not from overhead. Show less