Male and female courgette plants are growing but still no fruit for Sheena Grant


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Courgette blooms are beautiful, blousy, bright custard yellow things that are, arguably, as pretty as anything found in the flower garden.

In fact, I’m starting to think that’s exactly where I should have grown my courgettes because so far, flowers are all I have had.

The plants look healthy enough. They’re bright green, well watered, full of lush growth - not to mention flowers. But as yet those flowers are just growing on the end of long stems and after a few days they die and fall off, without a courgette in sight.

Regular readers may recall that to date, I have not had much success with growing vegetables.

Slug attacks and blight have decimated previous crops of all kinds of things.

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So imagine my delight when my pot-grown courgettes started producing flowers and did not fall prey to slugs (siting them in a gravelled area seems to have put off the slimy ones so no need to trial the bran circles and beer traps recommended by readers just yet).

It was hard to resist flights of fancy about my homegrown veg and what I would cook with them.

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But I should have known it would not be that simple.

After reading up on the problem I’ve learned that courgettes produce male (non-fruit producing) and female (fruit producing) flowers and for pollination purposes the male flowers always arrive first. It may be that I just have to keep watering, feeding and talking encouragingly to my plants for the fruiting flowers to follow. And if not, all is not lost. Apparently you can eat courgette flowers too, battered and deep fried or perhaps even stuffed with other goodies, such as goats’ cheese and pine nuts.

Anyway, it appears mixed fortunes in the vegetable garden are a common occurence, even among those more horticulturally able than me.

Jean Clarkson, of Worlingworth, wrote to tell me about her successes (she’s made 3lb of raspberry jam this year) and failures (onions are a waste of time).

She’s also now got four chickens, which are producing about two dozen eggs a week, meaning she can even sell half a dozen to a neighbour.

Chickens. Now, there’s an idea worth investigating

Share your Thrifty Living tips with Sheena via email or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

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