They prefer heavier soils, and are best suited to a position where they are sheltered from cold winds. Dig in plenty of well rotted manure in the bed where the plants are to grow. To get started dig a trench 9 inches deep put in the manure then dig another trench suing the soil from this to form a ridge on top of the first trench. The marrows are to planted in the ridges, 6 ft apart for the trailing types, and 4 ft apart for the bush types.
For best results use older seeds as this will result in plants produce a greater proportion of female blooms. They can be sown inside or a green house from April using 3 inch pots filled with seed. Harden off the young marrows by putting them in cold frames at the end of the month. They will then be ready to plant out in the ridges at the end of May.
You seed pots should be well watered before planting out. Try to avoid pulling the plants by their stems as they are easily bruised and this will cause irreparable damage. If the weather still cold then cover each plant with some clear fleece to give them some additional warmth or use the top half of a coke or lemonade bottle.
Caring for Marrows
Trailing types should have the tip of the main shoot pinched back by an inch or so when they are around 30cm long, as this will encourage side shoots to grow which is vital as this is where the main female flowers will grow. As the plants mature they will need additional manure and compost, which should take the form of a mulch added to the base of each plant. This will also stop them drying out. Surface roots can also be covered with grass clipping to stop them drying out.
Marrows require lots of water so do not be afraid to soak the roots thoroughly on a regular basis.
In a high summer, they can be harvested July, cutting them when they are young will encourage growth in September. How if you wish to store them for winter then leave them on the plants until October.
If you found this article useful then why not visit my Grow your own vegetables website. Where you can find a wide variety of tips on growing marrows and other vegetables.
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