Courgettes are an easy-to-grow summer veg that will thrive both in the ground or in large pots on the patio. Green fruits are the most common choice but you'll also find golden varieties and round-fruited ones.
Which? Gardening magazine rated 20 commonly available varieties of courgettes to find the best for flavour and vigour. To discover our recommendations, subscribe online to Which? Gardening or call 029 2267 0000.
Courgettes are very sensitive to frost. Sow the seeds in late April or early May, no more than four weeks before it’s safe to plant outside in your area.
Sow the large seeds individually into 7cm pots in a heated propagator or on a warm windowsill at about 20ºC.
Caption: Sow courgette seeds in individual pots
Wait until the danger of frost has completely passed before you plant out in late May or early June. By this time, the young plants should have at least one large leaf.
Caption: Wait until the danger of frost has passed before you plant courgettes
Some varieties are compact enough to grow in pots. Use a container that has a volume of at least 10L.
CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS
Cover them with fleece until they are growing strongly. Feed plants in containers with a tomato food (high in potash) to encourage fruit.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Protect young courgette plants from slugs eating them by removing any you find or by using organic ferric-phosphate slug pellets or biological control.
Delay the onset of powdery mildew, which leaves a white film on the leaves, by planting out through a plastic mulch to retain moisture and not overcrowding them. Water regularly in dry spells, particularly for container plants.
Harvest the fruits when they reach 10-15cm long, or even smaller, to avoid a glut.