Gardening Magazine

Courgette "Defender"

By Mwillis
This year I'm growing courgettes for the first time since our kids left home. One of our girls in particular was very fond of courgettes, and couldn't get enough of them. Jane and I are less keen. However, having been served some really nicely-cooked courgettes in a restaurant a few months ago, I'm having another go at growing them this year.
I say "them", but I really mean "it", because I have only one plant. That said, it looks a good one.
It is an F1 variety called "Defender", which is allegedly not only high-yielding ("twice the cropping power of other courgettes"), but also very resistant to cucumber mosaic virus and mildew. If it performs as well as is claimed, one plant should be plenty for us. A courgette plant normally produces a new fruit every 3 days or so, which is why so many people end up with gluts.
For want of space elsewhere, I'm growing my courgette in a big (50cm diameter) tub.
Actually I think growing courgettes in tubs is an ideal way to do it, because it means that it is easier to provide the right environment for them - they like deep, rich, moisture-retentive soil. They thrive in full sunlight as long as they are kept well watered. When grown in dry soil, courgettes get stressed and succumb easily to mildew.
My plant is just producing its first fruit:
Not far behind are at least two more embryonic fruits.
I just hope that some male flowers open at the right time to permit pollination.
Sharing the big tub with the courgette plant are two cucumber plants - one "Diva" and one "Passandra". They are still small, but I have started encouraging them to climb up the bamboo canes I have provided for them.
Initially they need tying-in, but eventually they will probably be able to support themselves with the aid of their spiral tendrils.

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