|Latin name:||Cucurbita pepo|
|Guarantee:||100% growth and flowering guarantee|
|Leafs all year:||No|
|Harvesting:||July - October|
Courgette seeds require no prior treatment. You could however steep the large seeds in lukewarm water for approx. 12 hours – this encourages germination. Courgette plants have male and female flowers. To encourage pollination it is advisable to plant and grow 2 or 3 at the same time. (Bumble) Bees will do the rest.
When all chance of frost is gone and night temps are above 15°C, preferably 18°C, the plants can go outdoors, or into the greenhouse. Courgette plants prefer well fertilised, moisture retaining clay or sandy soil so choose the warmest spot in your garden. A pot on the patio would do too. Do harden them off by allowing them to acclimatise to outdoor temperatures by leaving them outdoors for an hour longer every day (out of the sun). After a week you can pot them up into larger pots – one per pot as these plants will grow pretty big. Then place the pots in a warm and sheltered position in full sun. The leaves of the courgettes are susceptible to mildew – remove any infected leaves.
Courgette plants have a large leaf for such a stunted plant and more or less crawl across the ground with its short main stem. Fruits that directly touch the soil can rot in wet weather so it is advisable to mulch with straw or lay black plastic around the plants with a short cane tied to the main stem to keep it off the ground. Black plastic also helps warm up the soil so the plants will grow faster.
Courgettes are fast growing plants and respond well from a fertiliser like Bakker's fertiliser for flowering plants, or Bakker's Tomato Fertiliser. They really need it too! Give extra water in periods of drought and keep the bed weed free – pull them out instead of using a hoe, to prevent damage to the shallow roots. This will help them to continue growing well.
Sturdy, fast growers which mean that they become exhausted after a few months and produce fewer flowers, so less fruits. It is therefore advisable to sow again at the end of June to ensure a fresh supply of fruits in the 2nd half of the summer.