Sow cour­gettes and other squashes

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

COUR­GETTES don’t need any spe­cial train­ing and they don’t suf­fer much with pests. Mildew is the only fun­gal dis­ease worth your con­cern, and that doesn’t usu­ally strike un­til the end of the sea­son. The most high­main­te­nance as­pect is har­vest­ing the cour­gettes ev­ery day!

Now is the time to sow cour­gettes (they’re ten­der and grow quickly, so don’t start them too early). Sow one seed per 3.5in (9cm) pot of multi-pur­pose com­post (you don’t need seed com­post for th­ese larger-seeded veg). Press each seed gen­tly so it sits 1in (2.5cm) be­low the com­post sur­face. Wa­tered well and placed in a heated prop­a­ga­tor set at 18˚C, seedlings should ap­pear within a week. So, what va­ri­ety should you sow? I al­ways opt for ‘De­fender’ as my clas­sic dark-green, long cour­gette be­cause it’s a nat­u­rally vig­or­ous F1 hy­brid that has good re­sis­tance to cu­cum­ber mo­saic virus. There’s also an amaz­ing selec­tion of shapes and colours. Of the long-fruited types light-green ‘Al­fresco’, striped ‘Coucourzelle’ and yel­low ‘Ore­lia’ will catch your eye (there’s even a climb­ing yel­low-fruited

‘Shoot­ing Star’). Round va­ri­eties, like green-skinned ‘Eight Ball’, yel­low ‘Flori­dor’ and striped ‘Pic­colo’ are ex­cel­lent for stuff­ing, and don’t for­get UFO-shaped, yel­low-skinned ‘Sun­burst’!

The clas­sic dark-green ‘De­fender’ cour­gette

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