Tips on how to grow courgettes(zucchini): Grow your own vegetables in pots
Grow Your Own
Why not try growing your own vegetables this summer. Choose one or two vegetables that don't require a lot of care and don't take up a lot of space. Vegetables that can easily be grown in pots are tomatoes, courgettes/zucchini or peas and you will get a good harvest out of them over the summer.
Most vegetables come in small seed packets and are quite cheap to buy from your local supermarket or your garden centre. But many plants also come prepared as seedlings which save you the hassle of having to sow them in early February/March. You just plant them into the pot or the ground. But if you plant the seeds early and you have plenty of sun for the first few weeks, you will see them sprout up. Then they will be ready to sow into pots.
Courgettes are vegetables which are high in anti-oxidants, low in calories, great for summer salads and provide one of your five a day.
Courgette/ zucchini flower just beginning to bloom
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It is easy to grow tomatoes from seeds. From a packet of tomato seeds you can produce a lot of tomatoes that will supply you with a good summer crop.
Growing Your Own Zucchini / Courgette
- 2- 3 packs of 12 seedling pots
- pack of seeds
- good quality compost
- fertilizer from your compost bin or shop brought fertilizer
- verified plant and vegetable feed
- watering can
Gather your compost and fertilizer and mix it well together. Next you need to fill up each of the seedling pots with the compost mix about halfway.
After that make a well with your finger in each pot and place the courgette/zucchini seed in the well. This would be about the centre area of the pot now. Do this for each of the 12 seedling pots. Once the seeds are in each pot, completely cover them with more of the compost and fertilizer mix.
Do this until all your seeds are used up. Depending on how many packs of courgettes/zucchini you have will determine how many seedling pots you need. You can however buy seedling pots of 20 but you might need to look around for them.
Next give them a bit of water and if you have a small outside green house, you would need to place them in her until they start sprouting. If you don't have a portable greenhouse, you could put them in a very warm room in your house like the patio. This is to protect them until the seeds start to shoot up into small seedlings.
If the weather is extremely hot, you should see your seedling spout within 1-2 weeks of planting them. Again you need to keep them watered and don’t let them become bone dry or else they will die.
Growing Courgettes (Zucchini ) in pots
Courgette / Zucchini Plant growing
Tip for watering vegetables.
If you’re growing vegetables in pots, it's a good idea to buy a funnel and instead stick this down the side of the pot and pour the water from your can into in.
This will safely ensure that no plant food touches the leaves of the vegetables which could result in them getting burned.
Give Your Crop Lots of Water
When the plant start to flower and produce vegetable it is very important that you give them plenty of water. If is it especially hot outside try to water them very early in the morning or late at night.
Transplant Seedlings Outside
Once the seedlings have sprouted and are about 2 inches high, you need to transplant them outside. This usually happens around April to May. The weather in your area will be a factor in your decision of when to transplant them outside. If the weather is still frosty in late spring, then wait till you know the weather will improve before transplanting.
You can plant the seedling directly outside into the ground if you have space in your garden.
However, many people don’t have space in their garden. If you don’t have the space, then you can plant your courgettes/ zucchini into big large pots. The bigger the pot you can get the better it will be.
You need to be careful when growing them in the pots that you don’t overfill them with seedlings. You want to leave plenty of space between each seeding as they will grow out and up and planting too much in once pot will cause overcrowding and will only cause problems later on. Put 2 - 3 seedling in each pot.
If you are planting them in the large pots, you will need to again use the compost fertilizer mix. Usually you have a good few weeks of nutrients in the mix but when the plants really start to thrive about 5 weeks in, it would be good idea to start using a good plant/vegetable mix fertilizer.
You can buy powdered ones in the garden centre specifically for vegetables and you mix a spoon with 5 litres of water. You need to water the vegetables near the root and not pour it over the leaves of the vegetables. If you do this, you will burn the leaves of the plant.
Courgette flower is emerging
Planting courgettes seeds into the ground
If you plant the seed straight into the ground, ensure there is no chance of frost occurring.
Plant two together and give them 1 inch of space between each set.
When they start to grow, leave the strong ones and put out the weak ones.
Courgettes planted in Pots
Slugs are one of the enemies of the courgette plant. You will need to protect them if you want your harvest to succeed.
Try to raise your plants of the ground a few inches to keep them from climbing up the outside of the pot. If you have a raised shelf outside, you would place them on this.
Courgettes planted into the ground
If the seeds are planted straight into the ground, try putting down some broken egg shells around the outside to help deter the slugs from crawling across the ground to get to the courgette plant.
Close up of courgette/zucchini flower
Picking Your Vegetables
When your courgette / zucchini flower emerges, this is the first sign you get that your vegetables are going to produce courgettes / zucchini. Plus it shows all your hard work has finally paid off.
Gradually over time the actual courgette/ zucchini vegetable will emerge from the stalk of the plant. The flower remains on top of the vegetable. You need to leave the flower alone, don't pick it of the vegetable.
It took in my case about a 2 weeks before I saw the vegetable growing below the flower.
You need to harvest the vegetables when they get to about 4 inches long. So just keep up the watering and also giving it feeds every 2 weeks.
When the time comes to cut it of the plant you need to use a sharp knife and cut it and eat it immediately.
Courgettes / zucchini are great in salads or sautéed and added to pasta dishes. You can roast them with potatoes, carrots, onions and peppers to produce a warm winter side dish.
Courgette/ Zucchini flower emergingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Courgette/ Zucchini vegetable 1 inch long
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Courgette / Zucchini flower comes out
Once the yellow flower has emerged from the aubergine/ zucchini plant, you know it's only a little while more before you will see the emerging of the actual vegetable itself.
Growth Time for courgette / zucchini
The whole process from seed to plant to production of vegetables could take 3- 4 months. If you plant the seedlings in pots, you are getting ahead of the process.
Once the flower comes out it can take another 4 weeks for the vegetable to emerge and reach full length. However, the weather will be a big factor is the time limit. The cooler it is the longer it will take for the plant to produce the courgette/ zucchini.
If you have a few weeks of particularly hot weather, this will speed up the whole process significantly and before you know it you will have your own home grown courgettes / zucchini.
© 2013 Sp Greaney