How to Grow Marrows
How to Grow Marrows
Vegetable Marrow – Cucurbita pepo
Marrows are not always as highly valued as they might be because they are left to become old and ripe. At that stage they become insipid and then are most useful for making jam. These fruits consist of a large percentage of water, although vitamin A is present, with traces of other good elements.
Marrows like a moistalthough really heavy land is not suitable since it warms up so late. Sandy soil dries out just when the plants need moisture. First sowings can be made in spring on a hot bed where there is a minimum temperature of 15°C. Seed can be sown either in boxes and pricked out later into pots or sown directly into pots.
Keep the surface soil in the pots from becoming hard otherwise of sowing. Mice are partial to marrow seeds and they should be prevented from reaching the sown pots. Plenty of ventilation is needed during the daytime and when they are growing well, the plants should be moved to their final quarters in frames.
Make beds for this purpose by digging sites 30cm or more deep, and filling them with well rotted manure which should be trodden in, and a covering of soil placed over it. Make the holes at each corner of the frame.
Water as necessary, and keep the lights closed until the plants start growing. In the event of cold nights, straw or hessian can be placed on the frame. When frosts are over the glass can be removed from the frames. A top dressing of dried blood, well watered in will be helpful.
Outdoor crops are fertilised by bees and other insects: under glass it is advisable to hand pollinate. This is best done about midday preferably, when it is sunny and the flowers are dry. The female flower is distinguishable by the embryo fruit seen at the back of the petals. Once fruit has set, regular watering and occasional feeds of liquid manure will be beneficial.
The first outdoor sowings should not be made until cold weather has passed, The resultant plants will produce marrows during summer and autumn.
Varieties: Bush Green; compact, bushy growth, dark green fruits with paler stripes. White: same habit as Bush Green, but with creamy-white fruit. Tender and True, a slightly flattened fruit mottled green. In addition there are now a number of F1 hybrids including Zucchini, early maturing, slender green fruit; Early Gem and Zephyr pale green flecked grey. Custard or Patty Pan, creamy-white, flattish fruits with scalloped edges and a concave base.
Trailing varieties: Long Green; Long White; Moore’s Cream; smooth, oval-shaped, early. Marrows can be kept in a dry, frost-proof place for winter use.
The avocadella or avocada marrow from the Argentine is a distinct bush marrow producing grapefruit size fruits usually ribbed like a melon. The skin is jade green, contrasting beautifully with the orange flesh, which is firm and smooth.
Gathered young and cooked whole, they are delicious, but a better way is to use them as a substitute for the avocado pear. For this, cut them in half (as with a grapefruit), remove the seeds and boil for ten minutes; serve with salad cream and other condiments to taste.
Avocadellas can be stored like marrows in a dry, warm place for use as required.
This can be grown in exactly the same way as the ordinary vegetable marrow. Seed can be sown in early spring in the greenhouse, the plants being gradually hardened off for planting outdoors when cold weather has passed. The fruits, up to 45cm long, are carried 0n trailing growths. They should be cut when well coloured and for cooking should be boiled up to 30 minutes or can be wrapped in foil and baked in a hot oven until tender. When cut in half the inside comes away just like spaghetti.