June bestows blessings upon us – a final opportunity to grow incredibly productive and delicious vegetables this summer! Savvy gardeners who sow cucumber and courgette seeds directly in the soil now avoid the hassle of washing up pots, the time needed to pot up seedlings, and the expense of buying compost.
All risk of frost has passed so you don’t need a greenhouse. Gardeners who sow seeds direct have an easier life, as plants grown in the ground usually require less watering than container plants. However, there are some things to be aware of: avoid sowing seeds in compacted or waterlogged soils, and don’t cultivate cucumbers or courgettes in exposed, windy, or shaded sites, as the plants won’t thrive in these conditions. Choose a bright and sunny, sheltered location to grow cucumbers and courgettes.
Patio and balcony gardeners can sow cucumber and courgette seeds in large planters. I usually recommend gardeners sow seeds in small containers and regularly pot up their plants into larger-sized pots. However, cucumbers and courgettes dislike having their roots disturbed, so it’s best to sow seeds straight into larger-sized planters that will accommodate full-sized plants. When choosing containers, use the largest planters for your courgettes. I’ve successfully grown both cucumbers and courgettes on a balcony using old compost bags as planters.
Help protect our peatlands by using peat-free compost when sowing seeds. Sow cucumber and courgette seeds as soon as you can. Every day counts as seeds need time to germinate and plants need to grow and reach maturity. Gardeners are often advised to sow two seeds together and discard the weaker seedlings: what a waste! I recommend sowing seeds singly and giving any unwanted seedlings to friends and family. Donate any spare plants you have to local plant sales or why not start a plant swap?
Courgette ‘Sure Thing’ is self-fertile and will produce a reliable harvest of lovely green courgettes, even in a dreary summer. Plants grow up to around 60cm (2ft) tall and 40cm (1.3ft) wide.
‘Sweet Crunch’ was my fastest growing cucumber last year. One plant produced its first three cucumbers just 55 days after the seed was sown in June!
‘Mini Munch’ took longer to fruit, but eventually triumphed as my most productive cucumber; one plant produced 31 cucumbers! Both ‘Mini Munch’ and ‘Sweet Crunch’ produce half-sized to three-quarter sized cucumbers. Both varieties have smooth skins and are delightfully juicy, crisp, and crunchy!
For more articles about edible gardening, please click here.
To see my vegetable plant pages with pictures and advice to help you grow a wide range of vegetables, please click here.