Do you want to know some marrow growing tips? In this blog post we will show you how to grow marrows within your urban garden!
Wow! What an amazing summer it’s turning out to be for growing. We’ve had such a mixture of unpredictable weather from days of heavy rain to bright, almost scorching sunshine that the plants, particularly the veg, have gone completely mad.
We’ve got courgettes coming out of our ears, salad from our eye balls and summer squashes from every other orifice! Not to mention raspberries, chilis, cucumbers, beetroot and edible flowers. Every day we pick and every day we can’t keep up with the sheer amount of veg. I must admit, I feel like I’m in my own personal heaven and the sheer pride of all the effort we’ve put in makes it all worthwhile.
I thought I’d outline some of the main crops we are seeing at this time of the year and perhaps a bit of advice of how to keep up with it all. Here are some marrow growing tips:
Firstly, it’s tomato season. Some people will have been picking them since June, if they have a been growing them in a very hot, humid place (like a greenhouse) but we’ve planted all of ours outside in all sorts of places and they’re all just showing signs of something tasty. The tomatoes, that are starting to show the most red tomatoes, are called ‘Red Alert’ which are supposed to be a quick-maturing crop.
I have to admit that I sowed Red Alert first of all the toms (in February time) and they did suffer from the cold… I imagine they’re also trying to produce fruit quickly so that I don’t threaten to kill them again! The others, however, are looking healthy but very green still, which works well for us; we won’t have a glut straight away but (hopefully) a steady flow of juicy toms until the end of summer. To keep them healthy, I’d give 4 tips: 1) Water them every day. When you water try to be consistent with the amount you give, the time of day that you water and water the soil. not the leaves.
I say this and I’m currently looking at the bushiest group of tomato plants; looks like we’ve got work to do!
Hopefully, if you stick to these tips, new red gems will keep popping up around your garden… it’s all very exciting!
Next, I’d like to introduce my courgettes and squashes. They are mad… no, I am mad for growing so many! I think I have 9 courgette plants (some in pots) and 4 squash plants (of different varieties).
They are so abundant, it’s unreal. In fact, I went knocking on doors along our road, with my little basket full of produce, trying to give it away. Amazingly, I still couldn’t palm off some of the squashes; I think people generally don’t know what to do with them or have never seen them before, so they shy away. It’s such a shame because they’re so delicious; I’d recommend them to anyone. I also think people thought I was a dodgy salesman so they looked at me extremely suspiciously as I stood on their doorsteps like a grown up little red riding hood (with a beard), until I said ‘It’s free!’ then they warmed to me! I even walked away with a 4 pack of lager… result! Anyway, my main tip for courgettes (as well as watering them well) is to pick ’em when they’re small and keep picking them every day- they just keep growing and growing and growing (especially if you have 9 plants!!) and become completely unmanageable when they turn marrow size.
Our summer squashes have been miraculous and actually this variety (see pic below) is one that you can pick small, like a round courgette, or leave to grow bigger like a pumpkin; so you can make that choice. we love them.
Then I have some scallopini squashes, which grow as yellow or green discs; roast them with olive oil and fresh herbs for 25 mins and they are a real winner.
Apart from veg, I’m starting to see the merit in flowers too, with new ones popping up everywhere, this year has definitely been our best for flowering plants. Our garden is so full of colour and I have to admit, so far this year, we’ve avoided pests on our veg, which I think is down to the sheer volume of other delicious, fragrant flowers in and around the patch. (When I say we’ve avoided them; they are obviously still there and still nibble but it’s not stopping the veg from growing!) Bugs will go for the pollen and scent, whereas slugs will go for tender plants like nasturtiums; which I’ve learnt cannot all be eaten; they’re like triffids; except they aren’t man-eating!
Another beautiful surprise is this dahlia (below), which was simply left in the ground over winter (without much thought of it growing again) and now it dominates the landscape; it’s so pretty and so vibrant but we do NOTHING except the odd deadheading and a bit of tying up; beautiful and easy to manage!
They are so huge, currently towering at about 8 feet high! They attract bees and other flying insects by the truck load, as well as encouraging those predatory insects (wasps, hover flies and ladybirds) that gobble up aphids like black fly.
See this video to show you what edible, insect-attracting flowers you could grow.
This year, our plan has worked! Life is in action every day and it’s simply nature giving us back what we have put in. It’s so satisfying; there are so many reasons to ‘have a go’ at growing. Why don’t you try too? Just follow our marrow growing tips.
Have you had any garden successes or do you have any photos of something lovely in your garden? You might even have a question about growing you’d like to ask me? Please don’t hesitate to send me a message. You can contact me on Facebook, YouTube or on this blog. Alternatively search for ‘Have A Go Gardener’.
In the other articles here you can read more about marrow growing tips.
Tip: Do you have a glut of courgettes? Why not try making your own courgette pickle? Simple chop up 500g of courgettes thinly and a few shallots. Mix in 2 tablespoons of salt and some cold water. Then leave this mix for an hour. During the wait, make up a pickling liquor with 500ml of cider vinegar, sugar and spices, leave to cool (until luke warm), strain the water from the courgette mix and add to the liquor. Finally, spoon the mix into some sterilized jars and you have your very own pickle! I didn’t make this recipe up… more details for this recipe can be found on this BBC link. Happy growing… and eating!
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My name's Keith Hatton and for the last few years I've been calling myself 'The Have A Go Gardener'. That's because I love my little patch of paradise and I'll try to grow anything, especially if it's edible! From strawberries in wellies, potatoes in bags and lettuce in guttering, I like to up-cycle what I can, encourage wildlife into our garden and pretty much love everything to do with my garden. I also write blogs, film any whacky ideas and (if you're close to Cambridge) I even like to help out in other peoples' gardens. Here to inspire and get people outside- why don'y you 'have a go?'
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