With this great weather set to stick around for a while longer we took the plunge and planted out courgettes and butternut squash in the raised bed kitchen garden. Mollycoddled from seed it was time to take a deep breath and allow tiny tendrils to explore, yikes it’s so hard letting go.
Five courgette plants are more than enough for a family of four although last year we had a really poor crop, we usually struggle to pick them fast enough.
We will never complain again about a courgette glut (Ok, we probably will), fingers crossed for lots this year!
I’m simply sharing my recent findings for anyone, who like me, thought that wilting courgette flowers dropping off the plants was a problem. You see, it’s not. They are meant to do that. The first few weeks of flowers are the males, they open, look pretty, wilt and then drop off. No need to panic like I did.
The male flowers are found on the longer thinner stems, the females (that produce the courgette) are on the shorter and fatter stems lower down the plant. You may even notice a very small courgette begin to form behind an unopened female flower. If a female flower isn’t pollinated the baby courgette may grow slightly but then rot off. Male flowers do not produce, they are there purely for pollination purposes.
There are self fertile varieties to grow too!
Just a quickie update on the vegetable garden, sowing, seedlings and digging. We are still sowing like the clappers, all the seeds are germinating well so far, still waiting on the courgettes to make an appearance but so far so good.
Tomatoes and chillies have been sown and the tomatoes have already started to sprout. Runner beans will be started off in small pots this weekend, I don’t want to get caught out with a late frost or risk having the seed beans munched in the soil like last year.
The sprouts and cauliflower seedlings are doing very well outside in the mini greenhouse, some of the seedlings have their first set of true leaves. I have started off a second sowing of broad beans, the other plants are outside and doing well, even in the frost. We did lose some of the taller plants, but, I think that was my fault for allowing them to go too stringy before planting them out. We had to start the broad beans indoors because none of the vegetable beds were ready for planting.
The sweet corn seedlings are really doing well on the sunny windowsill, they will be planted out as soon as the risk of frost is over. The onion sets are coming along great as well as the garlic. No major dramas so far.
The vegetable garden is coming along slowly but we are getting there. We are still having a hell of a battle with nettles on the second half of the plot. Our very friendly neighbour asked us why we don’t just spray the blighter’s and be done with it, I politely answered that we want to be as organic as we can, otherwise what is the point? We may as well not bother trying to grow our own if we are going to pump the soil full with nasty stuff. He probably thinks we are barmy of course and cannot see the point in us out there, every spare hour we can grab, digging like crazy people possessed.
Anyhoo, we now have 5 lovely vegetable beds all fed with lovely well-rotted manure and organic compost, ready to nurture our seedlings and sowings. Oh, that reminds me, must get the carrots, beets, peas and parsnips in soon!