Good enough to eat: Courgettes

A Generic Photo of courgettes growing. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
A Generic Photo of courgettes growing. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
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They’re the perfect summer veg, sliced diagonally, brushed with olive oil, garlic and seasoning and bunged on the barbecue or griddle.

Alternatively, slice them lengthways, make a ridge all the way down the middle and stuff them with fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil before sticking them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Courgettes are also really easy to grow, although you should give yourself plenty of room as the yellow flowers are enormous and the plants themselves can take up a fair bit of space on your plot. If you are limited, grow just one in a large pot and it should produce a good number of courgettes.

They thrive in hot summers in full sun and should be sown from April until June and harvested from the middle of summer until the first frosts.

Courgettes need fertile, moist soil, so it’s beneficial to add plenty of organic matter to the soil before you start. Seeds should be sown individually in small pots indoors and then hardened off and planted out after the last frosts, when they have two or three leaves.

Leave it later to sow outdoors and sow two seeds per station, thinning out to one seedling when possible. Never let them dry out and feed them regularly with a liquid fertiliser when the fruit starts to form.

Courgettes are best when picked young and thin.

Slice them off using a kitchen knife rather than tugging at them.