One of the most common mistakes made with courgettes is to plant them too early – if the young plants are exposed to a period of cold weather, it can set back their development for the whole growing season.

They should therefore be planted under cover – on a sunny windowsill  or in a greenhouse – in 3˝ inch (9 cm) pots, one seed per pot. Keep the pots warm and moist and the courgettes should start to germinate within a few days.


The first two leaves are formed from the seed itself. They are soft and susceptible to slug damage. The plants should not therefore be planted out at this stage.

Once the plant starts to produce proper leaves it can be put outside in the daytime and brought in at nights, this ‘hardens it off’.

Once there is no further danger of frosts, or of prolonged periods of cold winds, the plants can be planted out to their final growing position. This should be as sunny as possible and the soil should be as rich as possible.

Providing they have a chance to make an uninterrupted growth spurt in early summer, your courgette plants should yield heavily right up until the first frosts of the autumn.

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