Courgettes have replaced marrows in our affections; they are quicker to crop because they are cut young, they are more prolific and they have greater versatility in the kitchen. But no matter how often you harvest them (best at 10-15/4-6in long) you will always find one hidden which is determined to become a marrow! Remember the flowers can be stuffed and eaten, or even deep-fried. Courgettes like an open, sunny position and very fertile, moisture-retentive soil, especially one with ample organic matter added. Plant out to their cropping positions only when the danger of frost has passed.
How to Sow and Grow Courgettes
Sow indoors, for surest results, 1.5cm(½in) deep, on edge, in small pots of compost. Water well and place in a warm position. A temperature of 15-20°C(60-68°F) is ideal. Keep moist. Seedlings usually appear in 7-14 days. Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts), before planting out 90cm(3ft) apart, when frosts are over. Or sow outdoors for ease, where they are to crop, 1.5cm (½in) deep directly into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Allow 90cm(3ft) between sowing positions. Sow two seeds on edge per position. Early sowings benefit from cloche protection (such as Enviromesh). Thin to leave the stronger plants. Water well until plants are established. Cut the courgettes when they are about 20cm(8in) long, or leave to mature as marrows.