These popular members of the squash family need a sunny spot protected from strong winds, together with soil that’s well-drained and rich in humus. Most households will need only a few plants, so we’d suggest preparing just a few planting pockets rather than sowing long rows.
End of May – June.
Pinch out the growing tips of the main shoots of trailing varieties when they reach 2 feet long. Apply slug pellets or other slug repellents at the first sign of damage. Keep the soil moist, and water copiously around the plants, not over them. Place black polythene or mulch around the plants in summer before fruit formation, and feed the plants every 14 days with a tomato fertiliser once the fruits start to swell. Sit each fruit on a tile to prevent rotting or slug damage.
Pick courgettes when they’re still quite small, about 4” long, and leave marrows until they’re 8-10” long. Test for ripeness by pushing your thumbnail into the surface by the stalk – if it goes in with ease, the marrow is ready to pick. Cut the fruits where they lie, and then lift them away carefully.