Courgette Growing Guide

5 Steps to Courgette Success

  • Choose a warm, sunny spot. Spring and summer are the best times to plant courgettes in New Zealand.
  • Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
  • Add a layer of vegetable mix to plant into. 
  • Plant courgette seedlings about 50–80cm apart as the leaves can get quite big and mildew can be a problem as they grow
  • Feed your courgettes over the growing season with vegetable food and water regularly.

Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown courgettes.

When should I plant
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  • Harvest in 60-85 days

Courgettes are a staple of vegetable gardens all across the country and is sometime known as zucchini or summer squash. Courgettes have a wide range of uses. They can be grated into salads, stir-fries, quiches and preserves, or sliced and grilled on the BBQ.

Prepare

Courgettes need heat and sun to flourish. They are frost-tender, so in cold areas don’t plant them outdoors until November. The dark green or yellow types of courgette are most often grown. Both have a similar flavour and ready to harvest in a couple of months, but green courgettes seem to keep slightly longer after harvest.

Plant

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix. Plant courgette seedlings about 50–80cm apart as the leaves can get quite big and mildew can be a problem as they grow, so plenty of room is important.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

If you are sowing from seed, seeds are best raised under glass in the spring and summer as they prefer heat to germinate. Once the seedlings are about 5cm tall and have a few leaves, transplant them into pots or into the garden once frosts have passed. 

Planting in garden beds

  • Soak seedlings in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your plant a healthy boost.
  • Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix to the planting area.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Planting in pots and containers

  • Soak seedlings in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock.
  • Partly fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the container.
  • Fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Tap the container gently on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential.

Select a fertiliser specially blended for your crop like Tui Vegetable Food. Feed courgettes planted in pots and containers with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser. Well-watered, well-nourished courgettes will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. Keep the soil moist throughout the season. While your courgettes are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Harvest courgettes when they are 15-20cm long. Once they get beyond this they become a marrow. Make sure you cut the courgettes off the plant rather than snapping them off as this can rip the main trunk of the plant.

Pollination:

Courgettes bear male and female flowers, however only the female flowers produce fruit. Once the male flowers open and release their pollen, they fall off. The female flowers (which have a small courgette) need to be pollinated by the male flowers. You can do this by hand by rubbing the pollen from the male flower onto the female flower. Often at the start of the season courgette plants produce more male blooms to ensure there's plenty of pollen for when the female blooms open.

Protect your plants from the elements with layers of Tui Pea Straw Mulch, to help keep their roots moist and keep your garden weed free.