This week we talked about Courgette rot. This is where the end of the Courgette rots, this is due to the flowers getting a hammering from rain (or sprinklers). The best action here is to remove the fruit and discard it, thus allowing the energy to be refocussed on producing more flowers and fruit, the best prevention is to try and avoid getting the flowers un-necessarily wet.
I love growing courgettes, I grow them inside polytunnels and outside in raised beds. I grow a number of different varieties, golden, green, striped etc but kinda follow the same guidlines with them all. Feed them plenty!!.....oh and give them lots of sunshine. The picture on the right is an entire row of Courgettes planted inside Gillespie Polytunnels, we planted 6 plants and cropped over 50 per plant....an amazing return for something which costs £1 for 15 seeds...
Courgette plants are facinating as they are what we call....prepare yourself for this...'synchronously monoecious' in that they produce both male and female flowers on the same plant at the same time. (no more fancy terms I promise). When your growing them at first the plant throws up male flowers, these have a long thin stem with a large flower at the end, then after a few weeks the plant starts to produce female flowers, these appear different in appearance as they have a swelling behind the flowers (appears alike a mini courgette), these will in turn be polinated and then swell to form proper fruits......i'm a geek so I find this cool, the male flowers is the flowers you'd pick off and eat
A handy way to grow a Courgette is straight into a bag of compost, we call this 'Easy Peasy Courgette', the plant will easily fill a 70L bag of compost, place this bag somewhere you get loads of sunshine and heat so against a south facing wall or somewhere equally as bright. See the wee empty plastic pot??
The wee empty plastic pots are deliberately planted close to the courgette to double as a watering aid, a courgette plant gets so big that they become difficult to water....and by jeez they're thirsty, so the wee empty pot is a great way to target water to the root of the plant (and avoiding the flowers), fill with water....allow to soak through...fill again....and again...and again. All the water is focussed on the roots of the plants, not running out of the soil or under the bag. If courgettes don't get anough water they're prone to mildew and developing a hollow centre. Sometimes the simpliest things are the best!
The best size to pick a courgette is when they're between 6and 8inches in size, a plant will produce 2-3 a week. Remember to feed your courgette every week with your comfrey fertiliser or with regular tomato food...
Gardening on Radio Foyle
A summary of each weeks gardening on Mark Patterson Show and beyond