Courgettes, widely known as zucchinis, are warm-season, fast-growing vegetables. They thrive in full sun and need fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-7.5. Before planting, enrich the soil with compost or a well-balanced fertilizer.
Plant courgette seeds directly in the garden after the last frost when the soil has warmed, typically in late spring or early summer. They can also be started indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost and transplanted after the danger of frost has passed.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep, planting 2-3 seeds per spot. Space the planting spots about 24-36 inches apart in all directions, as courgettes need room to spread. Once the seedlings have a few true leaves, thin them to leave the strongest plant at each spot.
Courgettes require regular watering, especially as the fruits start to grow. Mulching helps retain soil moisture and controls weeds.
For a detailed guide on growing courgettes, including specific varieties and troubleshooting, please refer to our comprehensive courgette grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Common issues include powdery mildew, squash vine borers, and cucumber beetles. Use appropriate fungicides for mildew and monitor plants for signs of pests. Row covers can help prevent some pests but should be removed during flowering for pollination.
Harvest courgettes when they are small and tender, typically 6-8 inches long, for the best flavor and texture. Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit from the plant, being careful not to damage the vine. Regular harvesting encourages more fruit production.
Storage and Preservation
Courgettes can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. They can also be sliced and frozen for later use in cooking or baking. Courgettes are suitable for pickling and canning as well.