Marrow F1 Bush Baby is a baby marrow variety bred to satisfy gardener’s demands for a smaller marrow.
Plants have a bush type habit and the fruits grow to approximately three quarters the size of a standard variety. The compact plants have an open habit which enables fruits to set and ripen quickly. Plants can be grown in growing bags, large pots or directly in the garden.
They produce a high yield per plant with crops that have an excellent flavour. Harvest when mature as delicious baby, striped marrows 15 to 20cm (6-8in) long.
Marrows are an easy crop to grow; children find them fun, fascinated and excited by the crops rapid growth. This compact bush variety is ideal for growing in smaller gardens, or containers on the patio.
Marrow 'F1 Bush Baby' has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Prepare the Site:
Choose a sunny, sheltered spot with moisture retentive, humus rich soil. Improve the soil by digging in some well-rotted manure or compost. The simplest way is to dig a hole 30cm (12in) deep and 45cm (18in) across and fill it with well rotted compost or manure. Cover with a 15 to 20cm (6-8in) layer of soil to make a raised mound that will provide drainage along with a rich source of nutrients.
Each plant will need 1m square (3ft square) in order to spread and avoid competing with nearby plants. (Alternatively you can grow them in large containers).
To get the best results ensure you have good, nutritious growing compost and that you feed them through the season.
Sowing: Sow indoors in pots April to June or sow direct from mid May to early June.
A minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F) will be needed for germination, which can be supplied in the greenhouse, glazed porch, or cold frame.
If grown entirely in a heated greenhouse seed can be sown in situ in late winter, or early spring for transplanting to a cloche or cold frame. If you do not have any glass, then delay sowing marrow seed until late spring to avoid damage from heavy frost.
Fill a 7.5cm (3in) pot with compost and firm gently. Sow a seed on its side, not flat. (reduces the risk of damping off) 12mm (½in) deep and cover. (You may choose to sow two seeds per pot, and remove the weaker seedling later; the strongest plants are kept.) Label, water and put in a propagator or on a windowsill.
Germination should take place 10 to 14 days later. If temperatures are higher it may only be 4 to 6 days. After germination the young plants will grow very quickly and will need repotting almost at once. When roots begin to show through the bottom of the pot, transplant to a 12.5cm (5in) container.
Hardened off before planting them outside, around late May/early June and all danger of frost has passed. If seedlings are planted out too early, and exposed to a period of cold weather, it can set back their development for the whole growing season.
Plant out with 38 to 60cm (15 to 24in) between plants, providing good air circulation to avoid mildew. Protect seedlings from slugs
Sowing directly outdoors:
Early sowing outdoors is rarely of much benefit as the seeds may not germinate if the soil is too cold, or cold temperatures may damage young plants. Four weeks before the last frost is expected is about right.
Sow two or three seeds 2.5cm (1 inch) deep on their edges under cloches or glass jars with 38 to 60cm (15 to 24in) between plants. Remove the weaker seedlings later.
Hoe gently to keep the weeds down and do not let the plants dry out. Plenty of water is essential, especially when the plants are in flower and when the fruits have started to swell. Avoid splashing water on the stems of the young plants. Apply a mulch of about 12mm (1in) deep of grass cuttings or compost after watering. This helps conserve soil moisture and keeps the weeds down.
If you dig in plenty of manure before planting, additional feeding is unnecessary on heavy, fertile soil. On sandy or light soil, regular liquid feed will help boost production.
Plants under glass should be hand pollinated. The female flowers are distinguished by the swelling below the bloom. Male flowers have a prominent central core, bearing yellow pollen. The male flower is first to appear and the female flowers will follow. To hand pollinate, remove the petals from a male flower; push the core into the centre of the female flower. For a high success rate, use a different male for each female flower.
Harvesting: August to September - 12 to 14 weeks.
Full grown marrows tend to lack flavour so harvest them before they reach their maximum size. Pick once they have ripened but before the skin harden; your finger nails should be able to pierce the skin easily. Use a sharp knife or secateurs to sever the fruit from the plant, do not pull them off.
Marrows are also known as vegetable marrows, summer squashes or courgettes. Courgettes are merely marrows harvested young although only tender skinned cultivars are suitable for growing as courgettes. Courgette is French for small squash – courge meaning squash or marrow. And the Italian zucchini (or zucca) means the same. They are often called zucchini especially in the US, Canada and Australia and are also known as Italian squash.
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 10 Seeds Common Name Summer Squash Other Common Names Courgette Other Language Names Zucchini in Italy and the U.S.A Family Cucurbitaceae Genus Cucurbita Species pepo Cultivar F1 Bush Baby Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Flowers Large bright yellow flowers. Natural Flower Time Summer Spread Each plant will need 1m square (3ft square) Position Choose a sunny, sheltered spot Soil Moisture retentive, humus rich soil Time to Sow Indoors in pots April to June or sow direct from mid May to early June. Germination A minimum temperature of 10°C (50°F) will be needed Harvest Use a sharp knife or secateurs to sever the fruit from the plant Time to Harvest August to September - 12 to 14 weeks.