Marrows are best started in March or April in pots propagator in a warm greenhouse.
Once they are growing away select the best ones and keep potting on until they
reach a reasonable size. By May they should be planted in a greenhouse or polytunnel
bed that has been deeply dug and heavily enriched with well rotted compost. I use
a barrow load per metre but if the soil is rich you may be able to use less. The
plants grow away very quickly and they need to be trained up strings or canes until
they are just under roof level and then trained and well-supported down the length
of the greenhouse or polytunnel. Keep them well watered at all times. As fruit
form and ensure that it is hanging down and not touching anything. This way you
will get well shaped fruit that is evenly coloured on every side. You need quite
a few fruit in order to get a well matched pair and I generally let a large plant
keep 3-4 fruit on each plant at a time. One of the best strains for exhibition
is Table Dainty but there are others such as Bush Baby. Once you have grown it don’t
forget to save seeds from the fruit for next year.
To grow a giant marrow you need the right seed an ordinary strain simply will not
make the size required. For large varieties start them off in pots and when the
weather is warm plant them out on a heavily enriched gentle mound of soil. Keep
well-watered and they will rapidly spread and grow away but only allow one or maybe
2 fruit to develop. Rest the developing marrow on some stray to keep its base clean.
If you want a really huge specimen growing then under cover is preferable.
Growing for the pot
Just plant them out in rich soil and they will do their stuff without much bother.
Keep them well-weeded until they start to shade out the surrounding weeds. Traditionally
they have been planted on the compost heap where they thrive in the warm rich substrate.
Harvest then at a smaller usable size - it is better to have a good number of
fruit you can use over a period of time than one or two large marrows that go to
waste. Remember that a very small marrow is simply a courgette!
Vegetable Marrows are a type of squash. They are broadly classified into two types
namely a summer and winter squashes.
Summer squashes which include young marrows often called courgette, or zucchini
are harvested in the summer and used immediately.
Winter squashes are harvested later when the skins have hardened and then stored.
Butternut squash and pumpkins are classic winter squashes but large marrows could
equally be described thus.
Most parts of squash plants are edible and the shoots, tendrils and leaves can be
eaten as greens. However the dried or roasted seed of squashes can be especially
delicious and well worth a the effort of collecting and preparing them.