Well, after three good courgettes, we’re back to the tiny ones with blossom end rot. Maybe that’s the way of things with courgettes – you get a few good ones, then about twice as many rubbish ones, then a few good ones again… I am going to pound up some chalk in their water and see if that makes a difference (the chalk being a source of calcium, which is one of the possible reasons I found for the blossom end rot – see earlier post). Anyway, this post isn’t really about my tiny limp courgettes, it’s about a major success story, pictured below. I bought a 39p packet of mixed leaf lettuce seeds from my local Aldi supermarket back in March, planted them in April and from May onwards, I was harvesting cut and come again salad leaves. I still am in fact, in the middle of July – and they show no sign of slowing down or bolting. (Apart from one of the leaf varieties, which is a sort of spicy mustard type thing. They bolt like anything once the temperature goes up a notch.) I will be planting another lot of mixed leaf lettuce in early August, and am going to have another go at growing mizuna then as well, which was spectacularly unsuccessful the first time I tried it due to the fact that the local snail population treated it as their friendly neighbourhood restaurant.
|I don’t think I’ve quite got the hang of courgettes just yet. Last year I grew a couple of them in the same large container, using shop-bought compost. I did harvest two decent sized fruit, but of the three or four other fruit that I noticed, all of them reached about 3 inches long and then started to shrivel away from the flower end. Rather like the ones in the picture, in fact – these are taken from one of the courgette plants I’m growing this year. However, I am managing a greater number of “viable” courgettes – four or five so far, off the one plant. Trouble is, I’m reluctant to just let them grow in case they too start rotting, so I pick them when they reach 4 inches long.|
After doing some research on various Internet forums etc., there seem to be several reasons why blossom end rot can occur:
1. Inadequate pollination
2. Water getting into the flower and rotting the fruit
3. Too cold
4. Lack of calcium.
Not sure if inadequate pollination is the right answer – surely my courgettes wouldn’t even reach a length of 2-3 inches if that were the case? I can definitely see the logic behind (2), but I’ve tried removing some flowers as an experiment and the courgettes in question STILL succumb. I’m wondering if flower removal is enough – perhaps the problem is caused by a damp atmosphere inside the container, which could certainly be the case because the plant is in a very deep bucket, which I’ve only filled half way. Perhaps the flowering stalks of a courgette plant need to have access to regular wafts of fresh air.
“Too cold” – well, that isn’t a problem any more. We’re right in the middle of a heatwave at the moment. And as for the lack of calcium: that could be an idea. I planted this particular courgette in pure compost with no garden soil at all, so maybe it just needs a bit of lime. Looks like a trip down to the beach to pick up a few bits of chalk then!