Marrow

The vegetable marrow can grow to the size of a watermelon, and is closely related to the Zucchini.

The general difference between Marrows and Courgettes / Zuchini is;

Marrow plants tend to trail out and the fruit skin is quite thick, whereas Courgettes grow as a bush and the skins are quite thin.

Like all members of the squash family, Marrows are heavy feeders so soil preparation is paramount.

Choose a well drained spot that gets plenty of sunshine and is sheltered from the wind.

Prepare the planting hole by digging a 500mm (18") square/diameter hole then fill it with well rotted manure or compost.

Pile the excavated material onto this to form a mound.

An alternative method is to grow the plants on top of the compost heap.

Again excavate a hole of a suitable size to accept the plant and fill it with compost.

Vegetable marrow (also called marrow squash) has a bland flavour, and is often stuffed and cooked with a meat mixture to add flavour.

Cultivation

Week 17: Sow seeds on their edge in 75mm pots of seed compost and germinate at 18°C (65°F).

Germination should take five or six days.

Week 18: Prick out seedlings into individual 70mm (3") pots of potting compost and gradually harden off until planting out time.

Week 22: Plant out 900mm (3ft) apart in the pre-prepared sunny spot when all fear of frosts have passed.

Keep plants growing strongly by applying plenty of water in dry weather and feeding with a quick-acting liquid feed at weekly intervals.

To ensure marrows produce maximum crops, hand pollinate the female flowers, these are recognisable by their large stigmas.

Strip away the petals of the thin-stalked male blooms and dust the pollen on top of the females.

Week 27: onwards fruit should becoming ready for picking.

Cut the fruits when quite small to encourage plants to produce more fruit, 200mm (8”) is an ideal length.

Powdery mildew can be a problem at this time of the year.

There is no cure as such but; buying mildew resistant varieties is one way to reduce the possibility of contracting it, and keeping plants well watered helps, as does cutting off older leaves at the first sign of the disease.





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