For when courgettes are plenty…


At this time of year it is lovely to wake up early in the morning and be greeted by the beautiful sight of wide open enormous courgette flowers.  Lovelier still is to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour; this is to eat both the courgette and the flower of a plant that one has planted from seed.

To grow courgettes is no difficult task, you only need good soil and a sunny spot.  I like to start mine indoors by sowing the seeds in early spring, sometime in April will do.  I put the seeds in small pots, leave in a sunny spot indoors and water well and regularly, then leave the seeds to do their job.  When the weather is warmer and the seedlings become small plants, I then transfer them outside.  Although the little babies are small now, they will grow to monster size, so it is important to leave quite a bit of space in between the plants, 60 cm or 2 feet might sound like a lot, but really plant them that far apart if you can.

For those who have small gardens and want to grow courgettes a grow bag or a wide pot can be the answer, one plant will give you a constant supply of courgettes, mind you, one at a time…  the good news is that you can keep them in the fridge, and once the plant is going you might be able to harvest them more often and you might be getting more than one courgette each time.

Once they are out and still looking fragile, I like to protect themby placing them inside an an upside-down plastic pot with the underside bit cut out; this is to protect them from sudden winds, slugs and creepy crawlies who might fancy chewing on young courgette leaves.

Once the plants are established, the only thing left to do is to water well and regularly.  Harvest the courgettes when they are about 4 inches long; cut them with a knife about twice a week, reserve in the fridge to have a supply that you can use for cooking. Any flowers that fall by the side are worth picking, cleaning and freezing, once you have a decent supply you can fry to made delicious quesadillas.  If you are reaching a point when you don’t know what to do with a long supply of courgettes here is a different idea: turn them into a cake.

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