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.
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 plant now:
Indoor or in a heated greenhouse
Outside under cover
What else to plant:
Apple & pear trees (bare rooted)
Roses (bare rooted)