Not sure if most gardeners know this but I read last week that you have to be very careful growing courgettes. The RHS says cases of poisoning are still rare but the risks can be reduced by not saving seeds from one year to the next and only buying brands that carry the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
A huge amount of gardeners are thought to have been poisoned in recent months by eating home grown courgettes which are laden with harmful toxins. Symptoms are crippling stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, severe trembling, fever and hallucinogenic dreams. Can be serious in elderly people.
Apparently it's not just courgettes it can happen in cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. They all come from a family that naturally contain cucurbitacins which protect against insects and disease but are toxic to humans.
In July, Britain's top plant seed suppliers Mr Fothergills issued a product recall after it emerged it had released a batch of courgette seeds with very high levels of cucurbitacins. They had received complaints from customers after they harvested them and they became ill.
You can only tell by taste, if you are worried cut off a tiny slither to taste - raw or cooked if there is the slightest hint of bitterness discard immediately and remove the plant from your garden.
Cases of this in shop bought courgettes are unheard of because commercial vegetable growers use genetically engineered seeds to be free of these chemicals.
Heat stress such as hot, dry conditions we had this year can raise toxin levels too.
I read this in the Mail August 30th, 2020 by Pat Hagan. Thought gardeners may like to know as more people have turned to gardening during lockdown.