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What's the difference between a courgette and a marrow?

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Gareth Austin Gareth Austin | 08:32 UK time, Friday, 23 July 2010

Gareth Austin, gardening expert with BBC Radio Foyle, answers a common question sent in to us at Dig In, about whether there's a difference between courgettes and marrows. Plus, he looks at why some courgettes only get male flowers. If you have advice to share about growing the Dig In veg, you can add your comments at the bottom of this entry.

Daniel Swallow from Bedfordshire asks: The local garden centre sells courgettes and marrows plants. I thought marrows were courgettes that had grown too big. Are they actually different?

Answer: Daniel, fair plays to you, you're a vigilant fellow! Courgettes are commonly described as marrows harvested young. However, there are some slight horticultural differences between courgettes and marrows. Courgettes tend to be bushy and thin-skinned, whereas marrows tend to trailing and have a thicker skin. A good type of marrow to look out for is the Spaghetti Marrow, these are marrow-like in shape and when cooked the flesh resembles spaghetti, also these tasty fellows will store for a few months.

Nikki from Penzance asks: Why am I only getting male courgette flowers?

Answer: Hi Nikki, it is common to get a lot of male flowers early in the courgette's growth, and in early season. Hopefully, given time, female flowers will start to form on the plants. Usually courgettes start to be harvested about nine weeks after planting.

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