Courgettes and marrows are actually the same fruit – marrows are just left on the plant to grow for longer. They’re very easy to grow and require little maintenance, making them ideal for beginner gardeners. They’re also very productive, so you’re likely to end up with more than you can eat!
Preparing the ground
You don’t have to dig up the entire bed; they’re generally a trailing plant. Instead, dig a hole around 1-2 feet wide and fill it with well-rotted manure or organic matter.
Sowing and planting out
Sow your seeds in pots indoors, either in the greenhouse or on a warm sunny windowsill, between late April and June. If you sow them outdoors, make sure the risk of frost has passed. After the last frost has passed, you can plant them out in the ground. Once planted, you may want to cover them with a cloche at night for extra protection until they have time to establish themselves. Be sure to keep them watered well throughout the summer months.
The courgettes are ready to harvest when the fruit is 4-5 inches long – simply twist it off or cut with a sharp knife. For marrows, wait until the fruit is 9-11 inches long. Pick courgettes as and when required, as they don’t store well for more than a couple of weeks. You can also blanch them for a minute or two and freeze them for later use.
Some of our favourite varieties of courgettes include:
- ‘Defender’ AGM: This very popular variety can yield almost twice as much as other varieties when grown well. It has an open habit and solid mid-green fruits, and can crop over a long season if picked regularly. It has excellent resistance to cucumber mosaic virus.
- All Green Bush: This reliable variety is speedy to develop and will yield all summer long with consistent picking.