Growing Popular Courgettes Requires a Lot Less Work than Growing Other Fruits and Vegetables.
A lot of harm is being done to our health by our bad food habits of eating commercially processed foods, and by including more fresh fruit and vegetables in our diets we could avoid many of the degenerative diseases we have today. More people are also starting to realize that our own home grown vegetables and fruits planted in mineral rich soil have far more value than the so called ‘fresh’ vegetables bought in the store. Lots of would-be gardeners find courgettes, zucchini or Summer squashes appealing to grow, particularly when they are novices at growing fruits and vegetables, because they require less work than growing and looking after other vegetables and fruits.
People love growing Summer squashes which are technically referred to as fruits, but known as vegetables in the culinary world, simply because they are so easy to grow. Just one plant can give you a bumper crop. Remember to water them well during hot and dry weather. Prolific producers, you will be able to start harvesting your courgettes as soon as they get to about 10cm. By allowing your squashes togrow to marrows, you will reduce your crop, but zucchinis can be harvested throughout the year as they are not seasonal.
Different Types of Courgettes.
The plant, also known as zucchini, belongs to the Cucurbita pepo species and comes in three different types; the bushy type, the trailing type as well as the dwarfed kind, and people recognize the different types from their colours and shapes. Summer squashes can be green, white or yellow, while some have stripes, and they are mostly round or shaped similar to that of a cucumber. The skin is smooth and the flesh has small edible seeds. The fruit also has a high moisture content.
Courgettes can also be Grown in Containers.
People who don’t have large gardens needn’t despair because courgettes can also be grown in containers and indoors in March and April. You can start off with small containers for seedlings and move on to larger ones for adult plants. The containers need to be mulched with bark or stones to avoid too much water evaporation.
Helping Your Courgettes Grow Well.
Organic substance is the primary means of building good soil and Summer squashes will reward you with a generous crop if you plant them in good rich soil. Good manure, rich in nitrogen, promotes root development. If you are wanting togrow your Summer squashes on a large scale, you may want to have your soil analysed in order to check for excessive sand or clay conditions as well as finding out whether the soil is acid or alkaline.
Make sure that the fertiliser you choose for your zucchinis contains potassium, phosphorous as well as nitrogen, which is important in the first stages of the plant’s life. You need to stop using the fertiliser once the plants are established so as to ensure more fruit and less leaves.
Courgettes Love Sunny Spots Free from Frost.
Zucchinis are grown very easily from seed. For zucchinis, always choose a spot with a lot of sun, where-after germination starts within a week or two. Zucchinis don’t like the cold and frost, and to this end, people often start them off in pots. If you aren’t plagued by frost, Summer squashes can be planted directly into the ground outdoors during late May/June. Plant each of the plants into a hole which is about 1m from the next plant.
The vine type particularly needs enough space between them to avoid them strangling each other and these trailing type zucchinis can also be encouraged to grow up a trellis. With courgettes, it is a good idea is to mulch the soil around the plant to retain water because zucchinis like quite a bit of water to get going and also when they are flowering. The leafy growth of Summer squashes can encourage insects and fungus but these can be controlled with the use of herbal insect repellents.
Sometimes Courgettes Need Help with Pollination.
The flower of the courgette is the immature fruit; the male and female. The male has long stalks and does not not produce fruit but is used extensively for culinary purposes. If you grow Summer squashes in a greenhouse, it may be necessary to hand pollinate them. Early in the season the courgette plant produces many male flowers, but the female flower starts appearing a littler later on. The female flower is recognised by a thickening below the flower. To assist with pollination, you can strip the petals of a male flower and place the central part into the central part of the female flower.
Versatile Courgettes Used in Many Dishes.
Anyone who doesn’t like wasting food, will appreciate that with courgettes, nothing needs to to to waste, because the skin, seeds and flowers can all be eaten. When preparing zucchinis, remember to keep the skin on because nutrients are concentrated in the skin. You simply cut them up, leaving the skin on and you can cut them in round rings, into sticks or even julienned finely.
The beauty of these squashes is that they can be stir fried, braised, steamed, stuffed or baked and can be enjoyed on their own or blended with a range of other foods. They can even be eaten raw in salads. You can store courgette flowers for a couple of days by simply sprinkling them with water and keeping them wrapped up in the refrigerator.
This fantastic understated Summer squash also has numerous health benefits:
- Very low in calories – chefs include zucchinis in heaps of different dishes, whether sweet or savoury and delight guests with these delicious low calorie fruits. A medium-sized courgette only has a mere 25 calories.
- They also have anti-oxidant value – the yellow varieties are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants
- They are also an excellent source of fibre, folic acid, zinc, iron and potassium.
Get Your Kids Interested in Growing their own Healthy Foodstuffs.
Evidence has shown that soil and sunlight all affect the way your Summer squash willgrow, but one thing is for sure, growing your own fruits and vegetables will ensure the right minerals and vitamin content of the food we eat. The undemanding courgette, raised in mineral-rich soils, are wonderful for teaching kids how to garden and produce their own healthy foods towards better health.