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Courgettes, Marrows, Pumpkin & Squash

Courgettes, Marrows, Pumpkin & Squash

All of these veg are part of the cucumber family and all require similiar treatment. Squash has become increasingly popular in recent times and makes an easy weaning food for babies. Courgettes or zucchini are favoured over Marrows, as they have a superior taste and are used extensively in popular Mediterranean cookery. Pumpkins have versatile culinary uses and can be enjoyed in many different ways.

Soil & Growing Position

Pick a sunny, sheltered spot, protected from strong winds. The soil needs to be free draining and fertile so dig in some compost if your soil is poor. Plant in planting pockets rather than rows, in the following way: dig out pockets 12" wide by 12" deep 2 feet apart for bush varieties and 4 feet for trailing types. Fill the pockets with a mix of compost or farmyard manure and soil leaving a small mound above the surface and sprinkle with fertiliser.

Sowing from Seed

Sow from late May into June outside providing protection with cloches if you are not in a mild area. Earlier sowings in late April can be made under glass and seedlings planted out once the frosts have finished.
Sow three seeds into the middle of the pocket a few inches apart, at a depth of 1" and then cover with a tunnel or cloche.
Seeds can be germinated indoors by planting a seed sideways, at a depth of half an inch, in a 3" pot filled with seed compost and placed in a propagator. Maintain a constant temperature of 18 degrees until germination and then harden off gradually before planting out.

Growing On & Young Plants

Start thinning out once the first true leaves have appeared, leaving the strongest seedling remaining. When trailing types are 2 feet long, the tips of the main shoots will need pinching out.

Crop Care

Apply slug pellets or your chosen method of slug control around the pockets as these can be a pest and reapply regularly. Water around the plants, not on them and aim to keep the soil moist. Apply a mulch before the fruit starts to appear orlay black plastic sheeting around the plants to aid moisture retention. Use a high potash feed such as Tomorite every fotnight once the fruits starts to appear. Pumpkin plants should be limited to 2 fruits per plant. Lift pumpkins and marrows off the ground and place on a piece of tile or similiar to stop the fruit from rotting from underneath and falling prey to slugs.
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