This is a story about two courgette plants. The first is a variety called Black Beauty. It was planted early, at the end of March. It sprouted in about two weeks and lived happily under glass in an unheated greenhouse where it looked strong and healthy. It was transplanted into its own self-watering container full of compost in May and has been carefully watered ever since.
Here it is now. It does not look happy at all. The leaves are turning brown and have not responded to watering. This plant was first moved outside on the day of a storm, the only storm so far this spring, which took us by surprise. It is hard to know if the storm shocked it too much and maybe it never recovered properly from that. The plant has flowers and was all set to start producing fruit soon, on schedule for an early summer crop. One of the flowers yesterday had seeds in it. I don’t know a lot about courgette plants but I am worried that this plant may have had a shock from the storm and bolted.
The second courgette is a cousin of the first called All Green Bush. It was planted about four weeks later than the first, in mid April, and sprouted quickly. It turned into a thriving plant and caught us out with the speed it grew. When we finally got around to transplanting it last weekend it was really struggling in its tiny pot. In fact the stem looked weakened and we considered that it might not survive. We gave it its own self-watering container, watered it in and left it under glass for the week.
This plant has really thrived. Today it looks like the healthiest plant in the garden. The flowers are even starting to appear on it already.
I am not sure what the lesson here is. Perhaps we should not be so hasty to plant early next year as we did not gain much time from it. Or perhaps the second variety is more suited to our growing conditions. Or it could be simply the case that the first courgette was unlucky to get caught in a storm, especially when it wasn’t hardened off properly yet. It might not be too late to try to get another seedling going for a late crop.