How to grow courgettes (2022)

  • Average Yield

    4.5kg per 3m row

  • Spacing

    90cm apart

    90cm between rows

  • Depth

    2.5cm

Jobs to do each month:

  • April or May: sow seeds indoors
  • April to May: pot on seedlings indoors
  • Late May to early June: sow seeds outdoors for a late crop
  • May to June: plant out young plants
  • July to October: harvest fruits

Courgettes are easy to grow and highly productive plants, bearing masses of delicious, nutty crops for use in summer dishes and salads. They are prolific croppers and take up a lot of space, so just two or three courgette plants are enough to feed a family, with enough left over to give to friends. You can buy young courgette plants at the garden centre in late spring, but they are easy to grow from seed.

How to grow courgettes

Buy young courgettes at the garden centre in late spring, or sow courgette seeds indoors in April or May, in pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Pot on seedlings when they’re big enough to handle, and plant the young plants outside when all risk of frost has passed. Alternatively, you can sow seeds direct outside in late May or early June. Courgettes are hungry plants, so do well grown in soil enriched with plenty of well-rotted horse manure or compost and need feeding weekly with a high-potash feed, such as tomato food. Water plants regularly to keep the soil moist. Harvest courgettes when they are around 10cm long – leaving courgettes to grow larger will reduce the plant’s vigour and fruiting potential.

How to sow courgette seeds indoors

How to grow courgettes (1)

Step 1
Fill a small pot with peat-free, multipurpose compost that has been kept in the greenhouse, so that it is already warm. Firm well and press a couple of seeds, on their sides, into the compost.
(Video) How to Grow Courgettes

How to grow courgettes (2)

Step 2
Cover the seeds with compost or vermiculite, which is warm and free-draining and helps stop young seedlings from rotting during cool night temperatures.

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Step 3
Soak with tepid water and place in a propagator or a tray covered with a clear lid, at a temperature of 20°C.

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Step 4
When seedlings appear, move stronger ones to larger pots. Throw away weaker seedlings. Grow on indoors until ready to plant outside in late spring, after the last frost. Space plants 90cm apart, then mulch the surrounding soil generously to hold in moisture.

Watch Monty Don’s video guide to growing courgettes (and pumpkins) from seed:

(Video) ★ How to: Grow Courgettes aka Zucchini from Seed in Containers (Step by Step Guide)

Growing courgettes from seeds outdoors

You can sow courgettes directly outside in late May or early June, for later crops. Prepare the site well by digging in lots of home-made compost or well-rotted manure. Sow one or two seeds, around 90cm apart, 2.5cm deep. Cover with a transparent glass or plastic cloche and leave this in place for a few weeks after young seedlings have appeared. Remove the weaker seedlings so that just one remains in each position. Be sure to protect the young plants from slugs and snails.

How to plant out courgette plants

Plant out your courgette plants when all risk of frost has passed – usually from late May. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot, and give them plenty of room, as they can grow into large plants. Allow a square metre for each plant, or one per growing bag. Prepare the soil well beforehand by digging in plenty of compost or well rotted manure. Mulch around the plant with more compost or manure, to preserve moisture. Be sure to protect the young plants from slugs and snails as they are very vulnerable until they are established.

  • How to control slugs and snails organically

In this video, Monty Don demonstrates how to plant out courgette plants:

How to care for courgette plants

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Watering

Moisture is the key to success when growing courgettes. A constantly just-moist soil is essential if plants are to crop to their full potential. It’s therefore important to water courgettes regularly and apply a thick layer of mulch around the plants, to hold water in the soil. In dry conditions, most varieties produce mainly non-fruiting male flowers. To encourage female (fruiting) flowers, water generously and regularly.

Feeding

Apply a high potash feed, such as tomato food, once a fortnight to promote growth and flowering.

In this video, Monty Don offers tips on watering and feeding, for the best results:

(Video) Grow Perfect Zucchini Every Time! 💚 💛 💚

Harvesting courgettes

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Cut courgettes while they are small (about 10cm long is ideal), rather than leaving them to grow to the size of marrows – this will help to encourage more courgettes to develop over a longer period. Cut them off at the base with a sharp knife, or twist the stalk sharply.

Watch Monty Don’s video guide to harvesting courgettes:

Growing courgettes: problem solving

No fruits
This happens if the plant is only producing male flowers, which do not produce fruits. The production of male flowers is usually due to dry conditions. Keeping the soil consistently moist should solve the problem; remember to feed regularly with a high potash feed to promote the production of flowers. You can eat the male flowers – they are a delicacy in many Mediterranean countries and are delicious stuffed and baked or deep fried.

Slugs and snails
Young plants are extremely vulnerable to slugs and snails and can be demolished overnight. Add some kind of protection as soon as you have planted out. Deter slugs by putting crushed eggshells or a copper ring around the stem base, or use a biological pest control. Use wildlife-friendly slug pellets as a last resort.

  • How to control slugs and snails organically

Rotting fruits
Courgette rot is a common problem in damp weather. It often spreads from the faded flower into the end of the courgette itself. Never water plants from above – always direct water down onto the soil around the stem. Keep a close eye on plants during wet weather and remove any soggy flowers from the end of developing fruits.

  • How to deal with courgette rot

Powdery mildew
The white powdery coating on a curcubit’s leaves is made up of spreading fungal spores. This affects the plant’s performance, with growth, flowering and fruiting all being affected. Healthy plants are less susceptible, so make sure they are well spaced and have good air circulation around them. Mulch the area to lock moisture in the ground and give plants a regular drink. The moment mildew is seen, immediately prune out and destroy the affected leaves.

(Video) Growing Zucchini in Containers: How to Grow Courgettes in Pots - Everything you need to Know!

Grey mould
Grey, fluffy growth on plants is grey mould (botrytis). It’s especially common in damp or humid weather. Cut out any affected areas and remove any dead growth on the ground. Avoid splashing the leaves when watering.

Preparation and uses of courgettes

How to grow courgettes (7)

Courgettes can be steamed, fried or grilled. Spherical varieties are perfect for stuffing then baking. Courgette flowers are delicious stuffed with goat’s cheese and herbs, then deep fried or baked.

Storing courgettes

Courgettes are best used fresh, but can be kept for a short period of time by storing in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, turn gluts into chutneys or pickles.

Great courgette varieties to grow

Try a climbing courgette

Although most courgettes trail along the ground, there are climbing varieties for those short of space. ‘Black Forest’ and ‘Tromboncino’ are easy to train up a stake, as long as they are regularly tied in as they grow.

How to grow courgettes (8)

Growing courgettes with sweetcorn

You can grow courgettes as companion plants with other crops such as beans and sweetcorn. In this video, Monty Don plants a raised bed with tall, slow-growing sweetcorn, then fills the gaps with low-growing courgettes. As they both like the same growing conditions, they make good companions and will give you two crops in one bed:

(Video) How to Grow Zucchini/Courgette | Step by Step Guide

FAQs

How do you grow courgettes successfully? ›

Cultivation. Courgettes prefer a sheltered position in full sun and a fertile soil that holds plenty of moisture. They are reasonably large plants, so need plenty of room, spacing them up to 90cm (3ft) apart. Some more compact varieties are also available - and these are also best suited for growing in containers.

How many courgettes do you get on one plant? ›

how many courgettes do you get per plant? Courgette plants are very productive – if they're well looked after, you can get around 4 courgettes from each plant each week.

Do courgettes need a lot of watering? ›

Courgettes are thirsty plants and need regular and generous watering as they grow. When you water, try not to splash the leaves. A useful tip is to sink a 15cm (6in) pot into the ground alongside your plant.

Do courgettes grow well in pots? ›

Courgettes grow very well in containers. Choose pots of around 10litres in size (a builder's bucket with holes drilled in the bottom would be ideal). Fill pots with a quality multipurpose compost, high in organic matter.

Should you cut back courgette leaves? ›

Which crops should you chop back? After almost an entire summer of growing, many edible crops need a chop back. These include tomatoes, pumpkins, squashes and courgettes, as they'll have put on a lot of leafy growth.

Can I cut the big leaves off my courgette plant? ›

When pruning zucchini plant leaves, take care not to remove all the leaves. Keep some leaves on the stem, including leaf nodes near the last fruit you want to keep. When cutting leaves to give zucchini more sun, just cut the bigger ones, and make the cuts close to the base of the plant, leaving all others.

Should you remove flowers from courgettes? ›

Harvest your courgettes as soon as they reach the required size. The first one or two courgettes tend to rot at the ends, I'm not sure why this is but it's nothing to worry about. I find if you remove the flowers as the fruits swell it will be less of a problem.

Do you need 2 courgette plants? ›

Courgettes are easy to grow and highly productive plants, bearing masses of delicious, nutty crops for use in summer dishes and salads. They are prolific croppers and take up a lot of space, so just two or three courgette plants are enough to feed a family, with enough left over to give to friends.

What causes yellow leaves on courgettes? ›

Often it is caused by a lack of calcium and magnesium. It can also be caused by irregular watering – the plant drying out and then heavily watered. Improve air circulation around the plants, make sure watering is consistent and apply a side dressing of Tui Dolomite Lime to correct any calcium and magnesium deficiency.

How do you take care of courgette plants? ›

Tips
  1. Courgettes need plenty of water, but take care always to water at the base of the plant only or they'll rot.
  2. Keeping the soil permanently just moist is ideal.
  3. The large fleshy flowers can be eaten, but fewer courgettes will develop if you harvest too many.

Can you train courgettes to climb? ›

Because courgettes are big and bushy, they can take up a lot of room in a small space. Some websites show how they can be encouraged to climb. I've tried this and it's not as easy as it looks. An alternative solution is to grow tromba or tromboncino squash.

How do you prune courgettes? ›

How to prune Courgettes - YouTube

What do you feed courgette plants? ›

Courgettes are hungry plants, so do well grown in soil enriched with plenty of well-rotted horse manure or compost and need feeding weekly with a high-potash feed, such as tomato food. Water plants regularly to keep the soil moist.

Should I remove courgette flowers? ›

The answer is to eat the male flowers (dip in batter and deep fry) until the female ones appear. If the weather is cool, hand pollinate. Remove the petals around the male flower to expose the anther, then dab on to the female: one male will pollinate several female flowers.

Should I cut off zucchini flowers? ›

You do not have to cut off zucchini flowers. But if you like to eat the blossoms, then it's perfectly okay to do so. Only cut off the male flowers to avoid decreasing your harvest size. Each plant only needs one to two male flowers to allow for the full pollination of all the female zucchini flowers.

Should I pinch off zucchini flowers? ›

If you are expecting a short season, then pinching off zucchini flowers in late summer can be beneficial. This is because these flowers won't get enough time to ripen before the cool weather arrives, so there's no point in letting them develop. This energy can now be pumped into the remaining fruit instead.

Videos

1. Why are our Courgettes not growing..?
(Fiona Grows)
2. How to grow & harvest courgettes
(B&Q)
3. Growing Zucchini (Courgettes) from Sowing to Harvest
(GrowVeg)
4. How to plant and grow courgettes (zucchini)
(podgardening)
5. Zucchini Growing Tips I Wish I’d Known | Home Gardening: Ep. 5
(TRUE FOOD TV)
6. How To Grow Zucchini Vertically - Save Space & Increase Yields in 5 Simple Steps
(OrganicBackyardGardening)

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