One of the best ways to live a more sustainable life is by growing your own vegetables and growing courgettes is a great place to start.
Courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables as they are so versatile and nutritious in cooking. In the garden, they are one of the most generous vegetables in terms of bang for your buck; one tiny seed can give you enough courgettes to last all summer! Whether you’re a beginner in your veggie patch or a seasoned gardener, courgettes are a staple to your grow-your-own plot. This post will tell you everything you need to know to get growing courgettes immediately!
You can either choose to start growing courgette plants indoors, or wait until the last frost has gone and plant them straight outside (usually around late May to early June). If you choose to throw them in at the deep end, make sure you cover them for as long as possible, to reduce the change of the cold killing them off when they are still young and delicate.
Because the British weather is so indecisive, I recommend starting growing your courgettes around March/ April indoors and then acclimatising them to the outdoors in May. Because they will already be well-established, they will be a bit more resistant to fight off any unexpected cold spells, and will be ready to face the world independently by early June.
Quick info on growing courgettes yourself:
- Courgette seeds are large and easy to work with.
- One seed should produce one plant.
- Each courgette plant will produce between 1-4 courgettes per week.
- Courgette plants grow quite large and take over the space they’ve got available to them.
- Courgettes can easily be grown in a prepared vegetable patch, or in a grow bag. You can even grow them in a bag of compost stood upright with the top of the bag chopped off.
What you’ll need:
- Courgette seeds: I usually get mine from a local garden centre but you can buy them on Amazon too. I use the Black Beauty variety.
- Pots: I save plastic plant pots and reuse them. You could use an empty margarine tub or a ceramic pot – just make sure it’s got holes in the bottom for water to drain out. Each pot should be deep enough to contain around 3-4 inches deep of compost.
- Compost: Depending on your set up you may need a few 20l bags. I don’t use anything fancy, usually Lidl do a really cheap one which works as good as anything else! You can also buy some from Amazon here.
- Covers for your seedlings: A growhouse, a few cloches (these ones look good), a small polytunnel or even some old plastic bottles with the bottoms chopped off them will work. My exact growhouse isn’t on Amazon anymore but this one is similar.
How to grow your own courgettes
Step 1: Sow your seeds indoors
• Complete this step around late March to April.
• Fill each pot with about 3-4 inches compost.
• Push your index finger in to make a hole. Holes should be a couple of inches apart, so you can probably fit two seeds in a standard pot.
• Drop one seed into each hole (they should fall on their side) but it’s not major if they don’t.
• Give them a drop of water so the top of the soil is moist every morning and every evening.
• Place them in a sunny spot.
Step 2: Adjust your seedlings to the outdoors (acclimatisation)
• When your seedlings are ready to go outdoors, they might be a bit shocked from the sudden drop in temperature, particularly at night.
• If you have a growhouse, move your seedlings in their existing pots into the growhouse for a week to ten days to get them adjusted to the cold.
• If you don’t have a growhouse, move pots outside during the day and bring them back inside at night. Do this for about 7 to 10 days.
• After this first week of acclimatisation, position the seedlings in their existing pots in a sunny, sheltered spot (from wind and rain if possible).
Step 3: Plant your seedlings outside
• After acclimatising, your babies should be ready to take on the big wide world!
• Choose a prepared vegetable patch, a grow bag, or a simple bag of compost to move your seedlings to.
• Carefully remove each seedling from its pot into the new compost. Try to keep the existing compost around the roots so you don’t damage them.
• If you can, continue to cover them at night – either with cloches, large plastic bottles (cut the bottoms off), a small polytunnel or something similar for as long as possible – until June if you can!
Step 4: Care for your courgette plants
• Your plants will grow quickly if they’re in the sun, and if you water them regularly.
• Water them every morning and every evening, trying to avoid getting water on their leaves and instead going straight to the roots.
• You won’t need to do much else for your courgette plants – they’re pretty self-sufficient!
Step 5: Harvest your courgettes
• You should expect to get 1-4 courgettes per week through the summer, but be patient – you might not get them all very quickly to start with.
• Wait till your courgettes are about 10-12cm long before harvesting. They won’t be as perfectly-shaped as shop-bought ones, but that’s part of the fun of growing your own veggies!
• Make sure you regularly pick them – if you leave them, they will become marrows and might make your harvest season shorter.
Will you be growing courgettes yourself this season? I hope this post helps guide you on caring for your courgette plants!
For more sustainable living tips, see my other posts here.
Thanks for reading
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