growing courgettes in pots

Growing Courgettes in Pots [Tips for A Productive Harvest]

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Courgettes are an easy vegetable to grow in the garden and they’re particularly useful vegetables to grow too – there are a lot of easy courgette recipes out there!  Courgettes, however, can be a very prolific vegetable and most gardeners will only need 1 or two plants to grow enough for their needs, as if you harvest courgettes regularly, then your plant will produce lots and lots of vegetables.  We prefer growing courgettes in pots as it helps to contain them and gives you more space in the garden itself to grow lots more.

Why Grow Courgettes in Pots

Courgettes are particularly easy to grow from seed and while they’re best started off indoors, you can plant them in pots in the garden or directly into the soil.  It’s also possible to sow them outdoors directly where you want them to grow.

We like growing courgettes in containers as it makes it easier to control the area that the plant can cover.  Courgette plants tend to trail along the ground and take over a lot of space (not as quickly as mint does, but it still can be a big area!)  All the courgette plants that we have grown have been prolific producers, and we’ve never had to worry about not having enough courgettes at all.  So much so that we’ve experimented with many courgette recipes over the years.

How to Sow Courgette Seeds

Sow your courgette seeds either inside (from March) or directly into compost or soil in April, May and June.   We find it quicker to get them going by sowing courgettes indoors in a small pot with vegetable compost.

  • Sow courgette seeds individually, about 1.5 centimetres deep in 7-centimetre pots.
  • Water gently and leave on a warm sunny windowsill.
  • You can also sow courgettes and leave them in a greenhouse, but you’ll likely need to protect them against frost.
  • If you want to sow courgettes directly outside then you can do so late May to early June, you’ll need to cover them with insulation or a cloche until the seeds germinate, and be aware that it may only be your strongest seedlings that survive.
  • Your compost needs to be kept moist, but not waterlogged while the courgette seed germinates.

Where to Plant Courgettes

We recommend that you plant your courgette plants in a pot!  Or a container or a grow bag.  Plant a single courgette plant per pot, or you can get at most two in a grow bag.   We recommend these grow bags for courgettes.  Be aware the courgettes are thirsty plants and you will need to ensure that they get plenty of water.

how to grow courgettes

Transplanting Courgette Plants

You may need to transplant your courgette plant to a bigger pot for a while before you’re able to plant it outside.  That’s where growing courgettes in containers wins over grow bags – you can transplant it to its forever home, yet keep it inside if the weather is a little cold.  If it’s going to be cold and wet and windy, keep your plants inside until the weather improves.  When you do transplant your courgette to its final home, you’ll want to make sure that it’s a 25-centimetre diameter pot per plant – or as we’ve said a grow bag per two plants.

Watering Requirements for Courgettes

You’ll notice when you cook with Courgettes that there is a lot of water in their fruits and Courgettes definitely like and need a lot of water.  Try to NOT get water on the leaves – water into the compost or soil.  If you’re looking for compost, then here’s our recommendations on compost.

Feed Requirements for Courgettes

Once you start to see your first fruits you’ll want to start feeding your courgette every 10 days to 2 weeks.

The Best Location for Growing Courgettes

Try and select a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind – courgettes aren’t that hardy for your pots of courgette plants.  Using pots to grow courgettes will help you appreciate just how much space they actually take up.  If you grow courgettes directly into the garden you’ll see their leaves taking up so much space.  At least with a pot, you can move them around!  If you’ve decided to grow directly into the ground, then you’ll want at least ONE METRE between plants.

growing courgettes in pots

Pests and Disease to look out for when growing Courgettes

When your courgette plants are young you might need to look out for slugs as they like young courgette leaves – growing courgettes in pots helps this as there’s more you can do to protect your courgette plants than if they were in the ground.

Protect your courgettes from slugs by

  • Sprinkling a circle of salt around the pot if the weather is dry
  • Sprinkle an organic slug pellet around the courgette plant
  • Use a beer trap to protect your courgette plant.

However, the most common issue that you’ll have when growing courgettes (and we’ve never had this, but I see it in a lot of places) is mildew.  Courgettes will be affected by mildew if there is poor airflow and their roots are dry.  Maintain your watering schedule and ensure that your courgette plant is in a location where there is a decent airflow.

The Best Varieties of Courgette to Grow

I don’t think there are any BAD varieties of courgettes, but here are the ones that we recommend you to grow in pots.

  • Ambassador – easy to grow, can be grown as courgettes or marrows > get courgtte seeds now
  • El Greco AGM: This variety of courgette grows in an open fashion making it easy to pick – and the harvests tend to be prolific.
  • Black Beauty –  Vigorous and productive producing dark green coloured long fruits over a long season. Glossy skins and a fine texture. Ideal for beginners and children. > buy seeds now!
  • Supremo AGM: – this is a great option for varieties of courgettes to grow in pots as it is quite compact.
  • Tiger Cross AGM: A bigger variety that produces big striped fruits, they store well.
  • Venus AGM – another courgette plant this is relatively compact. Tends to have quite a long season and crops well.

The Best Pots for Growing Courgettes

To effectively grow courgettes in containers you’ll want a pot that is 25-centimetre in diameter.  It can be clay or plastic pot.  It must have drainage holes.  If you want to grow courgettes in a grow bag, then you can grow two courgette plants per grow bag.

How to Care for Courgette Plants

Ensure that your courgette plants have plenty of water – courgettes are thirsty plants.  But water the soil and try and get the water to the roots to avoid the stems rotting.  Feed your courgette once every 10-14 days once the fruit starts to appear.

How to Harvest Courgettes

You’ll want to harvest courgettes as soon as they get to the right size.  You’ll harvest courgettes June through October.  Smaller ones tend to have more flavour.  Courgettes get enormous quickly.  They can literally grow inches overnight.  By harvesting your courgettes you’ll encourage the plant to grow more.  Leaving courgettes on the plant to become marrows means that the energy will go into growing the marrow and not into growing additional courgettes.

  • Select courgettes that are 10-12 centimetres long.
  • Cut the courgette at the base with a sharp knife – try not to damage the plant.
  • Keep harvesting and you’ll keep the plant producing.

courgettes grow quickly

You can also eat courgette flowers, they’re great on a salad and you can also cook with them.  Courgettes have two types of flowers, the flower that has the young vegetable attached to it (this is the female flower) and the much more attractive flower on a long stalk which is the male.  Courgette flowers will keep for 2-3 days if you seal them in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge.

Got a glut of courgettes?  Why no dehydrate them?  Courgette chips and crisps are a fabulous way to preserve your courgettes for longer – read our Food Dehydrators guide here!

Tips for Maximising your Courgette Harvest

The best way to increase your courgette harvest is to harvest on a regular basis.  Harvest when the courgettes are 10-12 centimetres.  This might not seem particularly big, but believe me, there will be another one along in a few days.  Regular harvesting of courgette plants means that you’ll encourage the growth of additional fruits.

Final Words on Growing Courgettes in Pots

Our first season with courgettes was an unmitigated success.  Being new to edible gardening we had no idea what our failure rate would be and planted lots.  And lots.  To say we ate little else that year apart from courgettes would be forgetting the huge tomato harvest we had as well.  Since then our courgette growing impulses have calmed down somewhat and we grow courgettes in pots to control the space that they use and also our over planting tendencies!

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