Can you grow courgettes indoors?

Can you grow courgettes indoors?

You can easily grow courgettes indoors in a container. You need to make sure that the container is deep enough for the root system of the courgette plant to develop. The container needs to be well-drained. Use a soil that’s rich in organic matter. Courgette plants will grow indoors just like any other plant.

Container gardens indoors are becoming quite popular. You can grow all sorts of fresh vegetables all year round quite easily using the container system. Courgettes are easy to grow. In the right conditions, courgettes will grow almost like weeds. They are normally grown outside in an open garden and as you would expect, just like everything else, they grow at their best when they are in good sunlight and warm weather.

A container garden is an ideal solution when you don’t have any space outside to set up a proper outdoor garden. There are a lot of people who prefer to grow vegetables indoors, including courgettes. To fit with this trend there are dwarf varieties of many fruit and vegetable plants. Look around and find dwarf courgettes. They’re ideal for barbecues.

You can grow courgettes indoors and expect to produce a meaningful crop. If you want to grow courgettes Indoors you’re going to have to think small because you may not have room for larger fruiting varieties.

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There is the Zucchini variety of courgette which needs to be harvested when it’s small. Left to its own devices it will end up growing into a huge great marrow.

Then there are the cultivars. There is the Gold Rush and Classic, Hybrid Jackpot and Black Magic, for outdoors. The Zucchini varieties can be grown indoors all year round. It’s the same story as with anything being grown indoors, you need to place the container with the growing plants near a window that’s facing South, to get all the sunlight that’s going.

The only alternative to this is to provide artificial lighting. It’s rarely enough to rely on the sunlight coming in a window. To grow courgettes indoors you really need a consistent source of good quality light and, for most of us, the best way to get this is to set up a grow-light system.

If you like courgettes and you made your mind up that you want to have a go at growing courgettes indoors, there is the usual procedure of how to set everything up and get things growing.

Growing courgettes indoors

Chosen variety of dwarf courgettes

Starting with your chosen variety of dwarf courgettes that are suitable for growing indoors, you need to begin the whole process by sowing the seeds in small pots.

You need 2-inch pots. Fill them with a seed starting mix. This needs to be soil-less. You can get a prepared seed starting-mix at garden centres or you can do what some people do which is to mix your own starting-mix by adding together equal quantities of vermiculite and peat moss. The mixture needs to be damp.

Planting courgettes

 

    1. One pot for each courgette

You need to have one pot for every courgette seed that you want to plant. Place one courgette seed on the surface of the starting-mix and cover it so that it’s about half an inch down.

Place the pot where it will get sun-light or artificial light, for when the shoots emerge. They need to be in a temperature of about 70°F. Keep the potting mix damp but only apply small amounts of water.

The courgette seeds will take about a week to germinate. You then have to allow the plants to become established for about 4 weeks. After this time the courgette plants can be transplanted into the larger containers where you want them to grow to maturity and start producing courgettes for the table.

    1. Prepare the containers

Depending on the size of your available containers, you may only have room for one courgette plant in a container. As a guide for the size of the container, a 5 gallon capacity should be enough for one plant. For the growing medium you need to use a soil-less potting-mix. This needs to be a well-drained mixture. Fill the container almost to the top.

    1. Planting out courgettes from pots

Before transplanting your courgettes from the small pot to the larger containers you need to dampen the potting mix but don’t make it too wet. It needs to be moist enough to be just crumbly. Make a hole in the middle of the surface of the potting-mix creating enough space to take the root system of the courgette plant. 

When you are doing this, be selective. Hopefully you will have plenty of courgette plants to choose from.

Select the best plants first and plant them out into the containers. If you have any courgette plants left over you could either hand them on to someone else or if you have some space in the garden, you could plant them outside, if it’s the right time of year.

Planting out courgettes into the larger container is simple enough to do. You just need to turn the pot upside down with your hand supporting the contents of the part including the courgette plant. Give the pot a bit of a squeeze. The plant and contents of the pot should slide out very easily. You can then place the root of the plant straight in the hole that you’ve made in the container potting-mix.

Make sure that the finished position of the plant is at the same soil-level as it was in the growing pot. Gently firm the soil around the courgette plants. The containers need to be in a sunny place where they can get a good 6 hours of sun each day. This is where you may find that the amount of sunlight that comes into the room where you want to grow your courgettes may not be enough.

    1. Apply extra light and fertilizer

The biggest problem that comes with trying to grow anything indoors is providing enough light. There will be some sunlight from windows but this is rarely enough to ensure any meaningful production. Having grow-lights in position is often the best way to provide enough light to grow courgettes indoors.

Your courgettes should become established in the containers fairly quickly. They will benefit from an occasional application of fertilizer. You need a fertilizer that is the right combination for growing vegetables. Look for a standard fertilizer that has an NPK of 10:10:10 or something similar. Follow the supplier’s instructions for the rate of application.

    1. Regular watering

You need to make sure that your courgettes don’t dry out. When you grow courgettes indoors, you will often find that the soil surface in the container will dry out. You can expect this to happen because the atmosphere in your house will be consistently dryer than the atmosphere outside.

You will probably find that you need to water the container most days. Courgettes need to be kept damp but not saturated. The container that you use will need a tray in under to catch surplus run-off water.

It’s good practice to remove any surplus water that’s gathered in the tray underneath the container because this can adversely affect the root system of the courgettes.

    1. Harvesting courgettes

Finally we come to the harvesting of the courgettes. This is the best part. if everything goes well you can expect to be able to harvest table ready courgettes about 50 to 70 days after planting.

It’s important to take off the courgettes when they’re about 4 inches long. This is when the courgette will be tender and easy to slice up. Don’t leave them to carry on growing because courgettes can grow to become quite big. If you don’t watch out there may be a risk that a small, tender courgette may turn into an over-sized marrow.

This would be particularly embarrassing when explaining to others that you were trying to grow some tender little courgettes indoors but now somehow you’ve got a marrow.

It’s important to keep taking the courgettes from the plant because this will encourage the plant to keep producing more courgettes.

Courgettes

A useful tip for when you grow courgettes indoors or outside

When courgettes are forming you will very often see the remains of the flower on the base end of the courgette. In most cases this isn’t a problem as the flower may just dry away and fall off.

Problems may occur if the old, dead flower is allowed to become damp. There is a risk, if this happens, that the flower will rot and the rot may spread into the courgette. When you see a flower on the end of a courgette, have a close look at it to see what’s going on. It won’t do any harm to pick the flower away from the courgette as this is sure to prevent problems later.

A modern way of growing plants indoors

To be able to grow courgettes, or anything else indoors successfully, you will probably need artificial lighting. A set of grow-lights positioned above the containers where you have your courgettes growing, would probably do enough for what you want.

You can take the growing of many fruits and vegetables indoors to a new level if you use one of the modern growing systems that’s available. These are known as indoor gardens or grow farms. They are designed to provide everything that a plant needs to grow efficiently and be productive.

This type of system may be of use for growing courgettes and many other fruit bearing plants.

A modern indoor garden provides sufficient artificial light that will generate fruit and vegetable production. There is no soil involved. The roots of each plant have access to a constant supply of water that has been enriched with nutrients. Find out more about indoor Gardens and grow farms.

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Image sources: Pixabay 1 | Pixabay 2 | Pixabay 3

 

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