Sunday, 19 April 2020

Stay at home: Zucchini / Courgettes and Squash seeds to sow

Top left: Genovese, Rugosa Friuliana & Striato 

Starting your kitchen garden? Grow Zucchini & Squash

Custard White
If there was ever a vegetable plant made for the novice gardener, it has got to be the humble courgette (zucchini).  Easy to sow from seed and generally low maintenance they produce an abundance of fruit throughout the growing season making it one of the most productive in the kitchen garden.

This year, I am sowing not just zucchini but also squash seeds from Italian company Franchi. They stock interesting and unusual varieties that will make your zucchino growing journey anything but boring.

Note: I ordered seeds from their website during the UK covid-19 lockdown and they arrived within the week.

Here are some that I've grown in the past from the Franchi range:

Rugosa Friuliana (zuchetta) - a firm favourite of mine with knobbly, pale yellow fruit and tasty dense flesh.  There is no need to peel them and they are delicious.

Custard white (zucchino) is pretty round fruit with scalloped edges and their shape makes them perfect for the summer barbecue (sliced).  The fruit can be harvested both small (sometimes sold commercially as 'patty pan squash' in it's baby form) or larger. The skin is delicate and there is no need to peel them before cooking/eating.

Genovese and Striato are both typical classic shaped zucchini but their colouring is what makes them striking. The former is a pale green, creamy fleshed variety from Genova and the latter a dark green striped one.

This year, I am going to try Bolognese with oval fruits, Greyzini Ibrido F1 and Spaghetti squash.
Rugosa Friuliana (Zuchetta) 

Genovese (Zucchino)

Zucchini and squash do require a good amount of space as these are large plants (about 90cm between plants). They are prickly too, so best not placed in a spot where you are likely to brush up against them.  It goes without saying that good soil is a must and I like to boost the plants with seaweed fertiliser (like Maxicrop). Once they start producing, the general rule of thumb is to keep picking them small and pick, pick, pick or you'll end up with marrows (and lots of them!). 

And importantly, don't plant out seedlings too early - it is generally safer from June once the risk of frost has passed.

Franchi seeds can be purchased online from Seeds of Italy here (UK Only).

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