Gardeners' World: Monty demonstrates how to pot tomato plants
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Courgettes are from the same family as cucumber, squash and melon, and are easily grown in gardens across the country. Perfect served with pasta dishes, stir-fries or baked in the oven – growing your own courgettes can make them taste all the better.
Courgette seeds should be planted at the earliest in April under glass, however, most plants are sown in the greenhouse or on a windowsill in May.
You should plant the seeds – which are large and flat in appearance – around 1cm (or around half an inch) deep.
They are best in 7.5cm (three-inch) pots filled with a free-draining seed- or multipurpose compost.
So when should you plant courgettes outside?
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If you are planting later than April, you should instead aim to sow outdoors in late May or early June.
If you’ve planted courgettes indoors, you must first acclimatise them to the outside before planting them out.
Indoor plants should be planted outside in June.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) advises you do this “by moving young plants into a cold frame for a week.”
Should you not have a cold frame, for a week you can pop them outdoors during the day, then bring them in at night for a week.
The following week you can leave them out in a sheltered spot all day and night.
When you come to finally plant them outdoors, the RHS says you should
Make a hole about a spade’s depth and width
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Fill the hole with a mixture of home-made compost or well-rotted manure and soil
Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil
Then you should plant one courgette in the centre of the hole.
If you’re growing several, space them 90cm (3ft) apart.
You can also grow courgettes in growing bags or large containers (at least 45cm/18in wide).
Plant one or two per bag or one per container.
When caring for your courgettes, you should bear in mind they are thirsty and need regular watering – however try not to splash the leaves.
One tip is to sink a 15cm (6in) pot with holes in the base into the ground alongside your plant.
Water into the pot, so the water goes right down to the roots and doesn’t sit around the neck of the plant, which can lead to rotting.
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