Courgette ‘Defender’ F1
If you have never grown vegetables before then Courgette’s are a great way to start and from my trials this was one of the very best and tastiest I grew.
Courgette ‘Defender’ is a F1 hybrid variety. Heavy yielding, resistant to ‘Mosaic Virus’, winning a RHS Award of Garden Merit for its tasty deep green very lightly flecked fruits.
Courgette ‘Defender’ also makes fabulous ‘Courgetti’. If you have never tried it I have added a photo to my gallery. Spiralised and cooked quickly its a healthier alternative to pasta and is ‘DELICIOUS’!
I don’t eat Pasta at all during the summer anymore preferring my ‘home made’ and ‘home grown’ ‘Courgetti’ which means far from a glut, I’m often seeking the next fruits out!
How to grow
Start seeds undercover in April-May in 9cm pots and/or sow direct into the garden after the last frosts.
Sow seeds on their side, this stops water sitting on the flat edge of the seed and reduces the risk of rotting. Seeds will benefit from ‘a bit of warmth’ to germinate, 20°C is ideal.
Courgette plants are frost tender and they grow very quickly so don’t start too them early.
Brilliant for children, they will love the way they grow quickly and look like prehistoric monster plants emerging from the compost, just like ‘Jurassic Park’!
Courgettes are handsome garden plants so if you don’t have a dedicated vegetable patch you can happily plant into your flower border or, if you prefer, into pots giving you a display that is both ornamental and productive.
Pots should be at least 45cm wide planting just one plant per pot. After 6-8 weeks feed plants every 10-14 days with a high potash feed such as Tomato Food.
Plant in full sun, but it is useful to have some shade cloth on standby for heatwaves as powdery mildew can be a problem during hot dry spells. I cover my plants during the day and water well at night to give them a bit of relief!
A cool start to summer can cause ‘inadequate pollination’ meaning fruits might fail to appear. This is usually only a temporary problem and fruits will quickly begin to appear as soon as the weather starts to improve.
My biggest piece of advice is to water Courgettes ‘regularly’ and ‘consistently’. Problems usually occur when plants are allowed to ‘dry out’ then ‘over watered’ as compensation. This can cause a problem called ‘blossom end rot’
‘Blossom end rot’ shows as a circular patch of rotting brown flesh at the end of the courgette that is furthest from the plant.
As this patch increases in size it becomes ‘sunken’ so that the fruit has a flattened ‘bruised’ appearance.
Simply remove any affected fruits and then maintain a consistent watering regime keeping the compost/soil moist. Water more than once a day (little and often) during heatwaves.
Variety: Cucurbita Pepo
Type: Half Hardy Annual
Position: Full sun
Sow: Spring – Summer
Pinching: Not required
Germination: Up to 15 days
Seeds per packet: 20
Harvest courgettes when 10-12.5cm (4-5in) long.
Regularly picking courgettes while they are small will ensure a long cropping period.
Do check them regularly, if left they can quickly turn into marrows!
Courgette ‘Defender’ is also the perfect choice if you would like flowers to cook with!