Growing marrows is really just the same as growing courgettes. It’s really the same plant – though you can buy marrow plants as the fruit tends to have more stripes.
Like I said growing marrows is the same as growing courgettes, growing squashes and growing pumpkins as they all belong to the same family and all need the similar growing conditions.
Growing Marrows – Sowing seeds:
You can buy marrow plants from you local garden centre or even a car-boot sale. Though you can grow you own marrows very easily from seeds. You can either sow them directly into the ground where you want to grow them – though you may find that the seeds can rot easily. Or my favourite way to start growing marrows is to start them off in pots in the greenhouse or in a cold-frame. Fill a 3” pot with multi-purpose compost and water, then sow 1 seed per pot.
The seeds are very quick to germinate; they usually only take between 5 and 8 days. Sow the seeds indoor at the end of April and sow outdoors at the end of May.
Many gardeners find that raising a marrow plants indoors is much easier – and only planting them out once the danger of frost has passed – this usually also produces an earlier and a more reliable crop.
Growing Marrows – Planting
Marrows like a humus rich soil so dig in plenty of well rotted manure or compost in to the ground before planting your marrow plant. It’s best to start growing marrows in a sunny spot that is well protected.
You can plant out your marrows in May – you’ll need about 36” between bush plants. For trailing marrow varieties you’ll need around 48” around each plant. You will need to harden off the marrow plants before planting outside.
Dig a hole and place the young marrow plant in to the hole, fill it around with soil and firm the soil around the marrow plant and water.
If the weather is still cold you can either put a surround around the plant, this will give them warmth. You can use an old bucket and cut the bottom off or anything else you can think off. You can also use an plastic bottle and cut the bottom off and take the lid off as well – as otherwise the plant will cook. Or just place some fleece over it.
You will need to protect the young plants from slugs and snails. You will need to water the marrow plants often especially in hot dry weather and when the fruit starts forming. Place grass clippings around the plant to stop weeds and it will also help to retain moisture in the soil.
Also feed the plants with some chicken pellets so that it will produce some big fruits for you.
The marrow plants produce male and female flowers the marrows only grow on the female flowers. Insects help with pollination, but if the weather is cold then you might find that the fruits on your plants are not setting. If this happens you need to help pollination; remove a male flower by cutting it off and insert the male flower into the female flower – this is known as hand pollination. The male flower has just got a thin stalk the female flower has a tiny marrow behind it.
Once the plants starts cropping they will suddenly grow very quickly. Marrows are ready to pick when they are between 12 and 15”.
Use a sharp knife or secateurs to cut the marrow from the plant. Don’t be tempted to twist or pull the marrow off, as you will damage the whole plant.
I hope this article encourages to start growing marrows in your garden.