Nero di Milano is an excellent open-pollinated variety from Italy. Cylindrical fruits grow to 20cm on an open erect plant, making harvesting a breeze. The skin is dark green to black, speckled with bright yellow fecks and the fruit, ready to harvest early to mid-summer, is delicious.
- Pack size: 10 seeds
- Time to germination: 10 -21 days
- When to sow inside: April - May
- When to sow outside: Late May - June
- Spacing: 90 cm +
- Soil preference: Fertile well-drained
- Light preference: Full sun
- When to harvest: July - October
How to grow Organic Nero Di Milano Courgettes from seed
Two or three courgette plants will easily feed a family of four, so it's most convenient to sow into individual pots with some organic general purpose compost.
When sowing your Nero di Milano courgette seeds (on their sides) at a depth of 1-2cms, consider the temperature they will be exposed to. 20 degrees is ideal; however, they will germinate anywhere between 13 and 25 degrees. Once germinated, courgette seeds can tolerate somewhat lower temperatures.
After germination, place on a sunny windowsill, or as we recommend, under LED lights to grow on and develop. All plants are sensitive to root disturbance, and we recommend planting seeds in 8.5cm biodegradable coco pots. Plant out, pot and all, once all risk of frost has passed, and the plant is out growing its pot.
Once growing away, courgettes are an incredibly easy plant to maintain. Leave them to sprawl and keep well watered, especially during fruiting. To minimise weeding and water loss, fill the empty spaces around your growing courgettes with salad crops, harvesting as when the courgettes take over.
Mulch with grass clippings, avoiding the stem, and when watering, try to avoid watering the stem and foliage, which will also encourage the roots to grow and spread.
Pick fruits early and regularly - 15-20cm for this variety - and courgettes will continue to fruit up into October. Leave a few fruits to swell to marrow size, and, having fulfilled their goal of producing viable seed, courgettes halt production and retire early. Nero di Milano is an open-pollinated variety, so leave a courgette to mature at the end of the season and save your seed for next year!
What to feed your courgette plants
Courgette plants are voracious feeders and require a nitrogen-rich and free-draining moist soil, loaded with plenty of organic matter (which also helps retain moisture). A good mix of rotten farmyard manure and fish, blood and bone meal with some volcanic rock dust and kelp powder, will give them a rich, balanced and diverse diet, for strong organic growth, released over the whole season. Add these ingredients in abundance or plant on your compost heap. They will reward you for it, as well as develop a great immunity to pests and disease. By thoroughly preparing the soil with these long-lasting organic fertilisers, you can avoid the expensive and constant application of conventional fertilizers, stripping your soil of structure and life.
Keeping pests away
Courgette seedlings are a delicacy for garden pests. To avoid disappointment, we start seedlings off indoors and under lights to ensure a compact, healthy seedling which is large enough to survive an encounter with a slug or pigeon. Once they have outgrown an 8cm pot, they are generally large and vigorous enough to shrug off a modest attack, whilst fully grown specimens won't even notice. Should you not have access to grow lights, we still recommend waiting. Your plants wont be battered by the early spring storms and will soon catch up!
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease usually appearing as white spots, which gradually spread to appear as if the whole leaf has been dusted with flour. Whilst it can slow down your plants' growth and reduce yields in severe cases; a strong, healthy plant, even completely white, will not show signs of disease and will produce normally. Allow adequate spacing and airflow between plants and avoid splashing water on the leaves, to reduce this fungus's chances to take hold. With Nero di Milano's open and erect growth habit, air circulation is generally good regardless. Giving your courgette the strongest start to life and proper nutrition can minimise the potential damage caused by pests and diseases and will help guarantee a great crop.
Grow Sow Greener is a regenerative gardening company advocating back to the roots tried and tested methods. We don’t recommend the use of, or sell any extremely profitable pesticides, herbicides or inorganic fertilizers. They are detrimental to the health of your entire garden ecosystem from microbe to mammal.
Instead, encourage birds, hedgehogs and toads, all voracious predators of snails and slugs, to take up residence. Provide a water source, shelter and winter food for birds too. When ordering Nero di Milano courgette seeds from Grow Sow Greener, you will receive free sunflower seeds. Beautiful plants in their own right, grow in a sunny corner to attract beneficial insects during the summer months, whilst their seed heads provide a great source of food for your overwintering feathered friends.