There is something about this outstanding Italian heirloom that makes us happy. It could be the comical round pale green fruits, the fact it's a favourite with kids, the delicious taste and excellent cooking texture, or the fact you can save your seeds and only have to buy this plant once. The novelty fruits also make great and interesting garden-grown gifts.
- Pack size: 6 seeds
- Time to germination: 10 -21 days
- When to sow inside: April - May
- When to sow outside: Late May - June
- Spacing: 100 cm +
- Soil preference: Fertile, well-drained
- Light preference: Full sun
- When to harvest: July - October
How to grow Tondo Chiaro Di 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 Tondo Chiaro Di 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 therefore we recommend planting seeds in 8.5cm biodegradable coco pots. Plant out, pot and all, once all frost risk has passed and the plant is outgrowing 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 and when the courgettes take over.
Mulch with grass clippings, but take care not to touch 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, at 10cm diameter for this variety, and it will continue to fruit up and into October. Leave a few fruits to swell to marrow size and then, having fulfilled their goal of producing viable seed, courgettes halt production and retire early. Tondo Chiaro Di is open-pollinated, so leave your courgettes 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 gives them a rich, balanced and diverse diet for strong organic growth released over the whole season. Add these ingredients in abundance, or alternatively, 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 which strip 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 won't 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 in severe cases reduce yields, 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' chances of taking hold.
By giving your courgette the strongest start to life and proper nutrition, you can minimise the potential damage caused by pests and diseases and get 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.
Rather, encourage birds, hedgehogs and toads to take up residence, as they are voracious predators of snails and slugs. Also, consider providing a water source, shelter and winter food for birds. When ordering Tondo Chiaro Di courgette seeds from Grow Sow Greener, you will receive free sunflower seeds for you to throw into a sunny corner. Beautiful plants in their own right, they also attract beneficial insects during the summer months whilst their seed heads provide a great food source for your overwintering feathered friends.