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Climbing courgettes: basic care


Photo: Climbing courgette plant

Photo: Climbing courgette plant

This year I’ve had a series of disasters on the courgette/zucchini growing front. Seeds haven’t germinated, pots have been knocked over snapping the contents and when I finally planted the remaining three out in big pots in the kitchen garden they were guzzled by slugs.

“I can’t face the thought of a summer without home grown courgette salads. “ Danny  exclaimed. “We’ll have to buy a plant.”
As home grown courgettes taste so much better than shop bought ones I was hoping for a courgette glut too.

Apart from raw courgette salad, soup made with this cucurbit is surprisingly good and grated courgettes are a key ingredient in our Italian style Bolognese sauce recipe. They also freeze and dry well.

So I slipped into QD – one of the bargain emporiums in Newmarket and bought a large climbing courgette (Black Forest). I hadn’t heard of this wonder before but it sounded perfect. With vertical rather than horizontal growth it would take up far less space. Several courgettes have snapped in the past when they have ventured over the rims of my large kitchen garden pots.

A quick foray on the Internet informed me that this type of courgette has to be ‘helped to climb’. Left to its own devises it prefers to grow horizontally. Some people let it wander before lifting it up but I’d be worried about snapping its stem. So I’m going to spiral string up the canes to contain it and encourage it grow towards the sky.

Courgettes are very greedy feeders so I will be dosing this plant with organic tomato food once a week. On the companion planting front, courgettes enjoy the company of nasturtiums so I’ve planted one on the same pot.

I found some crushed sea shells in the shed and am going to use these as a slug barrier. Slugs were guzzling my Brussles sprouts seedlings this spring until I set up a nice little 24/7 beer bar for their recreation. So I think I’ll reposition this near the giant courgette as extra insurance.

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  1. We’ve been using baked, crushed egg shells sparingly as a deterrent & so far it’s worked well.

  2. Hi There,

    I have terrible snail and slug problems in my garden. This year I’ve grown all sorts in pots and about 2/3rds up the outside of the pot I’ve put a thick band of vaseline. The results so far are fantastic, I even have a hosta with NO holes in any leaves! (never acgeived this before) whereas the ones planted in the ground are shredded. Definately worth a try – But you have to remember the vaseline is there if you move the pot!

  3. Natasha

    oh thanks Jan,

    I don’t have a hose but do have a spray bottle I will get out there now!

  4. PS: Natasha, my father used to spray runner beans (the whole plant) with the hose to encourage the flowers to set. It never failed to work.

  5. I’ve got courgettes in pots this year – I don’t know what variety they are but I’ll try confining them to a wigwam; I think that’s a great idea!

    Take care using crushed seashells; I made the mistake of using the chickens’ crushed oystershell and it made the ground far too limey for ages.

  6. Natasha


    I also love growing courgettes and last year lost loads to slugs!! Grr!

    This year I am growing them in doubled up growbags near to the house on my patio – so far no slugs have been seen. I do twice daily patrols now the fruits are developing.

    On another note in the Guardian yesterday they recommended sowing a second run of courgettes this week, something I have never done before but will give a try this year.

    Does anyone grow runner beans? Mine have lovely flowers but they are dropping off without forming pods, I suspect its pollination so have been out with a cotton bud this weekend. Hopefully that will do the trick. I am watering them like mad in this heat (fingers crossed for some beans for me).

    Tasha x

  7. Michelle in NZ

    I hope the new plant is prolific with flowers. Is so do try cooking the flowers to – I had a lovely time feasting on the male flowers over our last Summer.

    Sending special caring hugs for The Contessa along with some exceptionally loud purring from Zebby

  8. Joanna

    Our neighbours pile up the weeds and then plant the courgettes into those or even plant them in the new manure heaps, they seem to do pretty well and it also keeps them up high off the ground. Cheaper than pots anyway.

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