Courgette - Cucurbita pepo

Courgette or as sometimes referred to as zucchini. Sow in pots indoors in April, planting 2 seeds per 75cm (3in) pot, push seeds into the compost sideways to reduce the chance of them rotting. They need gentle heat to germinate, so put them on a warm windowsill. Remove the weaker seedling after they have produced their first pair of true leaves. In early May, transplant outside where they are to grow, spacing the plants 24-36cm (2-3ft) apart so they have a chance to spread out. The end of May is the ideal time to direct sow seed outside. Keep plants well watered, try not to get developing courgettes wet as this can increase the chance of them rotting on the plant.

They like moist, very rich soil in a sunny position.

Keep harvesting courgettes from July when they are small to encourage further production. If you miss collecting any they will grow into marrows, which can still be harvested and eaten.

Culinary use:

Courgettes have a high water content so they don't freeze very well. If you have a glut of them, make ribbons with a peeler or spiralising them into salads, stir fries, homemade burgers, lasagne or grate them and add to a cake mixture.

Cultivars and varieties:

Cucubita pepo 'Defender' - A good cropping courgette with mildew resistance.

Cucurbita pepo 'Afrodite'

Cucurbita pepo 'Atena' - Yellow skinned variety.

Cucurbita pepo 'Gold rush' - A yellow skinned variety.

Cucurbita pepo 'Piccolo'

Cucurbita pepo 'Tuscany' - Large crop with good resistance to mildew. Especially bred for the UK's climate.

Cucurbita pepo 'Zucchini'

Cucurbita pepo var. Giromontina 'All Green Bush'

Seeds to sow now:

Indoor or in a heated greenhouse

Coriander

Cress

Cucumber

Forget-me-not

Ornamental pepper

Tomato

Outside

Alyssum

Amaranthus

Antwerp hollyhock, Fig-leaved hollyhock, Hollyhock

Aster

Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia

Basil, Sweet basil, Common basil

Beet, Beetroot, Chard

Beetroot, Garden beet

Borecole, Kale

Bristly hollyhock

Broccoli

Cabbage

Candytuft

Cardoon

Carrot

Cauliflower

Celery

Common hollyhock

Cornflower

Courgette

Delphinium

French bean, Fine bean

Hollyhock

Italian beetroot, Beetroot, Garden beet

Kohl rabi

Lettuce

Love-in-a-mist

Marrow

Nasturtium

Normandy sorrel

Ornamental winter kale

Radish

Runner bean

Spinach

Spinach, Summer spinach

Spring onion

Sweet corn

Sweet pea

Swiss chard, Ruby chard, Rhubard chard

Turnip

Outside under cover

Sweet corn