Friday, 6 July 2012

Grow Courgettes and Summer Squashes

Summer squashes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours and include courgettes and marrows. They can be highly prolific croppers, and a few plants can yield lots of fruits, especially over a good summer. To maintain a good crop it is best to pick the fruits whilst young, and to keep harvesting all fruit to encourage new cropping.

COURGETTE, Ambassador F1
A classic dark green courgette, with a good yielding capability. Pick at about 10-13 cm. You can get up to 20 fruits off one plant.
£1.39 per pack (for 6 seeds)



SUMMER SQUASH, Tromboncino
An eccentric squash with green skin and a rounded end, which will grow into many interesting curvy shapes and lengths of up to a metre long. This makes it a popular crop for children. It can be used like a courgette.
£2.29 per pack (6 seeds)



GROW COURGETTES AND SUMMER SQUASHES
Preparation
Squashes need a sunny spot and well fertilised soil, with a good amount of organic matter added. It is beneficial to dig out a bucket sized hole and fill it with compost where you want to put your plants.
Sowing
Sow indoors: Apr-Jun. Sow seeds on their sides 1cm deep in 7-9cm pots of compost. Propogate until germination. Once the plants have grown two true leaves they can begin to be hardened off, as long as there is no risk of frost. Plant about 60cm apart. Keep well watered around the plants, but not on them.
Sow outdoors: Sow directly in early June.
Growing and Harvesting
A good tip is to cover the ground around plants with black polythene; this inhibits weeds and keeps the fruit off the soil (you can add small drainage holes to prevent puddles). Raise fruits from the surface with wood, a piece of brick or something similar. Squashes do need to be kept wet, a tip is to cut off the bottom of a pop bottle and push it upside down into the soil as you plant out, this can then be filled with water in dryer weather so that it gets straight to the roots. You can feed with a high-potash fertiliser every 2 weeks for extra benefit when the fruits start to swell. Fruits will be ready by about 10-12 weeks. Pick regularly when young.

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