Comparing courgettes

In 2020, we grew a couple of sowings of courgettes and a couple of different varieties, so we wanted to take this opportunity to look back on how they did as they are one of our favourite vegetables to grow (and eat!)

As a reminder, we grew the following varieties: Midnight (a variety designed especially for growing in containers) and British Summertime. We also grew Sunstripe (a yellow container variety), but we won’t be focussing on that here, albeit we did enjoy growing and eating it!

And here’s a throwback to what they looked like at the peak of their growing season. Both sets were grown up stakes to support and train the plants up to use up less space in the garden.

But we weren’t content with just comparing how the varieties grew in containers, i.e. whether you could successfully grow a British Summertime (not designed for a container). We also wanted to see the potential of each variety grown in the soil as well as in a container. And that’s where Dad came in…

Ours were grown in containers and his were grown in the soil, but we each grew both varieties so we could compare the difference. We also grew them as close as we possibly could in the garden so that the comparison was as fair as it could be.

Well the first thing to note is that the British Summertime grew quite successfully in a container even though it is not bred to do so, and vice versa for the Midnight which grew quite happily in the soil. It was probably a bit more of a tall order for the British Summertime, but it just goes to show that it can be done. As you can see, the plant was just more unruly than the Midnight, which have an understandably much more compact plant.

It’s so interesting to see the difference in height actually. You can see from the container courgettes that the Midnight pretty much reach the top of their stake, whereas the British Summertime grew to the top of this and we started training it almost horizontally towards the end. Needless to say, it didn’t think a lot of this! But it still meant we got a few last courgettes off the plant.

And they really do get very tall. I may only be 5’ 2”, but who thought a courgette would ever grow that tall?!

However, the difference is even more clear when it comes to the ones grown in the soil, probably because the British Summertime had chance to reach its full potential!

What we think is great about the Midnight is how compact the plant is, both in height and overall reach. As the seed packet says, they really are bred to grow perfectly on patios! We have been growing this variety for a couple of years now, and one question that we’ve always had but then forgotten to answer when the time comes, is whether they are as productive as other (non-container) varieties. But this year we remembered!

Before we cleared the plants after the season had finished, we counted the number of courgettes that we had cut off each variety. For the two plants we picked, totally at random, the results were:

  • British Summertime: 58 courgettes
  • Midnight: 40 courgettes

Therefore, you may argue that it is better to grow the non-container type, but in our view, the Midnight container variety is still worth a chance. The space-to-courgette ratio is just no comparison, and they both taste great!

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