The Vegetable Garden

How To Grow Marrow, Courgette and Pumpkin From Seed

How To Grow Marrow, Courgette and Pumpkin From Seed

All these crops are closely related - often confusingly so, and are grown in the same way. They need a sunny position, a moisture-retentive soil and somewhere out of cold winds.


Sow three seeds one inch (2.5cm) deep outdoors in late May or early June and cover with cloches, jars or plastic; leave in place for two weeks, or as long as possible, after germination. Thin seedlings to leave the strongest one. For earlier crops or in cold regions, sow seeds on their side a half-inch (13mm) deep indoors in pots of compost from mid to late April at 65-70°F (18-21°C). Harden off before planting outside in early June.


Make planting pockets 2ft (60cm) apart for bush varieties or 4ft (1.2m) apart two weeks before seed sowing or planting out that are 30cm (12in) square and deep and fill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil; leave a low mound at the top of the planting medium. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Covering the soil with black polythene will help growth and keep the fruit off the soil. The fruit of marrows and pumpkins should be supported on a piece of tile or glass. Pinch out the tips of the main shoots of trailing varieties when they are 2ft (60cm) long. Keep the soil constantly moist by watering around the plants not over them. Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell.


Harvest marrows, courgettes and summer squashes when the fruit is still quite small, courgettes 4-5in (10 - 12.5cm), marrows 10in (25cm). For pumpkins, winter squashes and marrows for overwintering let the fruit mature on the plant and remove before the first frost.

As they need plenty of water, sink a 6in (15cm) pot alongside the plants when planting out. Water into this and it will help ensure the water goes right down to the roots and not sit around the neck of the plant which can lead to rotting. Also a useful method for tomatoes.

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The Vegetable GardenHow To Grow Peppers From Seed