Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marvel at Their Beauty, Serve Them for Supper

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marvel at Their Beauty, Serve Them for Supper

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

THERE are two sound reasons to grow courgettes: they taste completely different to shop-bought, and the range of varieties look so decorative mixed together on the plate. Forget the standard-issue variety that you buy from the supermarket, which often tastes of nothing. Instead, grow compact Black Forest, the delicious, deepest-green courgette that saves on space as it can be grown in a container, the stems trained on to a trellis or wigwam so that the fruits dangle attractively on the vine. Grow vibrant yellow, creamy-tasting Gold Rush to deliver a different, dazzling colour.

Ro R manesco is the deeply ridged, slim Italian zucchini that, when sliced, makes pretty, precise daisy shapes; the papery flowers are large, just right for stuffing. The Romans consider this courgette to have the finest flavour, and they're probably right. Light green Bianca, pale and interesting, will provide yet another contrast.

All of these can be grown from seed, right now, in the ground if you have a few feet of space, or in a container. Don't mess about with a small, elegant pot: a roomy tub trug, drainage holes first punched in the base, is ideal. You will be amazed how prolific one plant can be.

At this time of year, you can safely sow direct, just by pushing one seed on its side, about 2.5cms into the compost or soil. As the plant grows, give it a weekly liquid seaweed feed and keep the watering steady. Courgettes are greedy, but they are also easy. The trickiest part is keeping up with them: cut the fruits when they are small, about the size of your middle finger, because that is when they are sweetest.

The simple growing method applies to all varieties of courgette, including the pattypan, aka scallopini. It is arguably a squash, but who cares about the provenance: those out-of-this-world looks are what count. …

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