Monday, 30 May 2016

There’s still time to sow veg.

borlotto and shelling beans,
mini cauliflowers,
broccoli raab,
spigariello (a marvellous sprouting broccoli type, from Franchi Seeds),
salads and
the outdoor sowings of marrows,
courgettes and
cucumbers can now be sown direct.

- How to grow perfect courgettes and squash | Alys Fowler | Life and style | The Guardian
This weekend is the perfect time to sow them if you haven’t already.
Cucurbits, whether that’s cucumbers or courgettes, squash or pumpkins, resent cold, wet weather and are easy targets for slugs.
If you have plants on the windowsill that can’t hold themselves upright, start again.
Floppy seedlings will be slug fodder and nothing more.

Plants sown in the next two weeks will catch up quickly with earlier sowings and crop just a beat behind.
Because the harvest season is short, make a further sowing at the end of the month to create a little succession.

It can be pricey to buy five or six different varieties: ask around and see if you can swap seeds.
Facebook often turns up someone who’s germinated the entire packet and is overrun.

Courgette plants love to eat and drink, so start feeding from midsummer onwards, particularly if growing them in pots.
It also worth mulching around plants to keep weeds down and water locked into the soil – grass clippings work well.

There are many varieties to chose from: round, long, bent, pattypan, pale green, sunshine yellow and stripy.
‘Midnight’ and ‘Patio Star’ are both compact bush plants, ideal for containers and tiny gardens.

Courgette ‘Tromboncino d’Albenga’ likes to climb and has attractive fruits; it’s great for arbours and trellis.
‘Eight Ball’ is a wonderful one for stuffing.
‘Nero di Milano’ makes a good, open bush plant and has early, dark green fruit.
‘Rugosa’ (from Seeds of Italy) and ‘Summer Crookneck’ (from The Real Seed Catalogue) are summer squash (essentially, they mature to have a harder skin), but, picked early, the wonderful, knobbly fruit have a great flavour and can be eaten like courgettes.

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