How to grow... Courgette
Rocket Growing Guides
Courgettes are unbelievably easy to grow and require minimal effort. You pop them in the ground and they just get on and do their thing, producing plenty for you to harvest fro late summer to late autumn.
They do take up a little space, so are best grown in raised beds and traditional veg patches where possible. If you do want to grow in pots, we’d recommend Courgette Green Bush which is a slightly more compact variety…it will still need a fairly large pot/planter though, approx 50cm.
- Growing Advice
- Common Problems
- Chef's Corner
Full sun and fertile soil
Full sun and plenty of space is important. Courgettes are hungry plants so make sure you dig in plenty of organic fertiliser when you plant them.
Best grown in beds
Courgettes are large, sprawling plants. If you have the space then go for a raised bed or a bed in a traditional veg patch. If you are growing in pots/containers, choose a large pot (50cm diameter) and go for the Green Bush Courgette variety which is a little more compact than others. You’ll need to keep pruning it, but should get a good crop.
How far apart
80cm apart for Green Bush Courgette, 100cm apart for other varieties.
Protect from cold weather
Do not plant out until all risk of frost has passed. If you are planting out early in the season (April-Early May) it is sensible to protect with horticultural fleece or cloches until night temperatures warm up.
Keep them well watered
Courgettes are thirsty plants and need a lot of water. We’d suggest you water them daily during dry spells. Try not to let the soil dry out.
Male flowers arrive first
Once the plant starts flowering, it will be with male flowers only for the first week or so. Then the female flowers come in and rely on insect pollination to produce fruit.
When to harvest
Courgettes usually start cropping in midsummer. Harvest them before they get too big by cutting them off at the stalk with a knife – they will keep producing more and more for weeks on end!
This fungal white coating on leaves is nothing to be worried about and is very common in all courgettes and squashes. During the early part of the season, leaves should come through nice and green, and towards the end of the season you start to see powdery mildew creep in. If you do have it earlier in the season, remove affected foliage and keep plants well watered to strengthen them.
Blossom End Rot
This is when the end of the courgette that was attached to the flower (the blossom end!) starts to rot. It is usually due to a calcium deficiency that is caused by a lack of water. Once the plant has access to enough water it can successfully draw up calcium from the soil. Keep plants well watered and subsequent fruits should be fine.
Any yellow or brown patches forming on the leaves can usually be attributed to a lack of nutrients. Make sure your courgette plants are getting enough water – the soil should be consistently moist – and use a liquid feed fortnightly once fruits start forming.
Best eaten freshly picked, but they will store for a few days in the fridge.
Ways to cook
One of the best ways to eat courgettes is freshly harvested, sliced and griddled on the barbecue, with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of chopped chillies and a sprinkle of mint.