Sow courgettes and other squashes
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