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Courgette growing. Cucúrbita pepo. 2/2

Courgette growing. 2/2
The planting of courgette plants in greenhouses is carried out with seedlings taken from seedbeds once they have produced between 2 and 3 well established leaves.

In order for transplanting to take place, holes are made in the soil and once the root ball is placed into the hole, it is covered and watered so the plant takes a firm foothold with regard to the root taking process.

Each plant should normally be positioned at a proximity of 1 plant m˛; however the settings for planting are usually 2m × 0.75m, 1m × 1m, 1.33m ×1m and 1.5m × 0.75m.

The growth and development of the plant takes place via the main stalk, pruning is limited to the removal of the occasional side shoot.

Staking and tying the plants will ensure the upright growth of the stalk and will prevent the trailing stems from lying on the ground. It will also improve the general aeration of the plants and will make it easier to take advantage of sunlight and to undertake all of the care necessary with relation to crop production.

In order for the fruit to grow correctly, the implementation of phytoregulators is still the predominant choice although natural pollinators such as bees and bumblebees are being used more and more.

The courgette is a plant which requires high levels of moisture. This means that frequent watering will be necessary once the first fruits appear. However, if the ground becomes waterlogged, this will have an adverse effect.

With regard to feeding and nutrition, it would be recommendable to maintain the ratio of N−P−K to 2−1−2.5. It is also vitally important to plant nutrition to take into account that the plants will require an adequate supply of micro−nutrients.

The main plagues seen to affect the courgette have been found to be whitefly, thrips, red spider-mite, aphids, leafminer and slugs. The most notable diseases are powdery mildew, grey rot and mildew.

With respect to virus infections, those which should be emphasized are; the zucchini yellow mosaic virus, the cucumber mosaic virus, the water melon mosaic virus and the cucumber vein yellowing virus.

The time period from the point of first fruit emergence to harvesting the crop will vary between 30 to 40 days. However if the plants are in the open air and subject to adverse climatic conditions, the aforementioned time may well be prolonged.

When the plants are in full growth and production phase harvesting usually takes place on a daily basis. Meanwhile, at the end of the production cycle, the frequency of harvesting will decrease to the point where the fruit will be cut from the plants every 3 or 5 days.

The fruits are usually harvested whilst still slightly unripe, close to full growth but prior to full seed development and before they harden.

Harvesting is carried out by making a clean cut to the stalk with scissors or a knife, ensuring that 1cm to 3cm of the stalk still remains attached to the fruit



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