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Marrows

For the show bench

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Growing giants

 

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.