COURGETTE & SUMMER SQUASH
- Summer squash and courgettes are very heavy croppers, so be careful not to plant too many. Two plants of four of five varieties will easily provide squash for a family of four for the summer months.
- Summer squash will always grow best in a warm sheltered spot with full sun.
- They are very hungry and thirsty plants. I recommend watering twice a week, or at least every other day if growing in containers. As with most plants a big deep drink a couple of times a week is far better than a daily light sprinkle. When the plant starts to flower feed one a week with a liquid feed.
Sowing & Growing
- Courgette needs the warmth of around 18-21*c to germinate.
- If you have space sow indoors or in a propagator in Feb/March, or sow outside in April/ May but cover with a cloche if the temperature starts to drop.
- If you sowed in small pots started inside, plant out in May once the seedling has two or more true leaves.
- If sowing direct outside plant 5cm deep and 90cm apart in May
- To grow the best courgettes and squash, plant in the sunniest spot in the garden.
- They are very hungry plants so make sure to add plant food/ organic matter before planting and continue to feed weekly once the flowers start to appear.
- If you do not have open ground to plant out it is possible to grow out in large containers and grow bags. If growing in containers make sure to water at least every other day as they will dry out faster.
- Courgette and summer squash are super frost sensitive. Make sure to wait until the last frost date has passed before planting outside. If a late frost is forecast cover with frost fleece.
- Be careful when transplanting, you want to keep root disturbance to a minimum
- If planted too early the plant will only produce male flowers so wait until conditions are correct. You can identify male flowers by looking at the base. Female flowers will have a swollen stem which is the squash, this will be missing on male flowers.
- Once the first fruits start to swell feed with high potash liquid fertiliser every week
- My top tip for first time growers is to not let the squash rest on the soil, place a mat or straw under the fruit to stop it going mouldy on the soil.
- If you are growing in a small space I recommend growing up a trellis or archway. Just make sure to support the squash as they develop.
Between each plant
-Sowing to harvest is much faster than winter varieties at around 10-12 weeks
- For the best taste pick while young. This will also extend the growing life of the plant as well.
- Pick at 10-13cm
- If the squash are harvested young you can get up to 20 fruits per plant
Courgette: Blackjack, Defender, Early gem, Gold Rush, One Ball, Parador, Sunburst, Tondo di chiario nizza, Tristan
Summer Squash: Custard White, Eight Ball, Geode, Patty Pan, Tromboncino