2 days ago
What happened to these zucchini, crooknecks, and cucumbers? Have you ever thought, yessss, all these squash are lookin great! I did it, I grew a thing! Many things! And then pfffffffft. Withered things.
SAME. Happens every year, in fact! The trick is to watch your new growths and catch em early - clip em if they don’t grow to size in just a few days. Summer squashes are quick: it won’t take weeks for them to flourish. And if you wait and leave them on the vine, you know what happens? Not only a bunch of sad sallys, but no more sallys after that. The plant will think it’s done, and kaput- no more squash for you. Not even withered ones.
What happened here was a case of missed pollination. Sometimes the bees can’t get to every flower, so you gotta help ‘em along a little. Snag a male flower in the early morning while you still have your slippers on (males have a skinny stem) and touch the stamen to the female flower’s pistil (females have small fruits attached to the flowers) - and bam! Babies that will grow big and strong.
The male flowers only last a day or so, so it’s not a big deal to pick them. And then you can fry em with dinner if you want! You can also use a small brush to transfer the pollen or whatever small implement you have on hand (a friend of mine used a q-tip). These are all headed for a stir fry despite their pathetic appearance - nothin a little soy sauce can’t fix! But now that they’re off the plant, we should have more popping up behind them that will grow quickly and to size. And since we’ll be around to see it, we can also help them along with hand pollinating.
Additional note: the plant also stops producing if you do get pollination, but leave it on the vine too long, letting the squash get too big. Who wants to eat a gigantic woody zuke anyway? Save that for the state fair contest growers (or late-season zucchini bread), and instead you’ll be enjoying nice, medium-sized squash all summer long!