Friday, August 13, 2010

The case of the missing zucchini

This is a misleading photo. These are not our squash - at least not this year's squash. This was a typical every-other-day harvest last summer.

Now picture the colander empty. Absolutely empty. We haven't had a single zucchini or patty pan squash yet this year, and we have no idea what's wrong.

The plants are stunted. They are producing flowers like mad, and some small fruit that either get stuck at the size of a dime and don't get any bigger, or die and fall off. We have applied compost and fish fertilizer. We have checked for bugs, and can't find any. The neighbouring winter squash plants are doing great: growing vigorously and setting fruit.

I never would have imagined saying this, but I don't have enough zucchini!


Paula said...

You need pollinators, sister. Where are your bees? Even bumblebees are great pollinators.

You know, with as many flowers as you have on your property, I wonder that you guys don't keep bees- there would be plenty of fodder. Or are you keeping bees but just keeping quiet about it?

My squash plants are just about done. Almost everything is. It's getting to be time to pull some stuff out, amend the soil, and seed for autumn and winter crops....

Next year is bees and chickens.

Doc said...

In a couple of weeks when you are holding one of those giant zucchinis and saying what we always say "well were did that one come from", shall we remind you of the statement you just put in print hmmmm??

Paula said...

I just noticed what you said about the winter squash, which prompts me to go check my IPM book for clues.

Well, it pretty much says the same thing- the female flowers are not getting pollinated. They suggest pollinating by hand. I started doing that with my pumpkins and finally teh bees showed up and took over for me.

The male flowers are borne on longer stems away from the branch they are on, and the female flowers are borne much closer to the branch they are on. They also have much more voluptuous centers. It's odd that your winter squash is getting pollinated but your summer squash isn't....good luck!

Flartus said...

I just happened to mention this in my post last night! Every hobby gardener I've talked to has had problems with squash and/or beans this year. Our beans have been flowering for weeks and weeks, but won't "fruit." We planted our squash late, so I'm not holding my breath.

Another explanation I've heard is that if it's too hot and humid, the squash pollen gets too sticky to travel. However, the local farmers seem to have no shortage of squash, so it's still a mystery to me.

Natalie said...

This is amazing. We had one decent zuke, and zero since. And our beans?! I could possibly serve one bean. One!
We got bees, I water, fertilize, pluck bugs, but overall the garden is not happy.
I thought it was impossible to have a zucchini shortage.

Tina Eudora said...

Everyone is right about the bees, although I do not have a veggie garden I am acutely aware that my flowers need those bees too. Happily I have huge stands of Sunflowers that expand each year and the bees love them and never stop working on them. So I love those Sunflowers. Oh and the Goldfinches love them too! Good luck!
Tina xo

jeanives said...

Likewise on the missing zukes. We have vigorous plants, lots of flowers, lots of bees/wasps/etc. Small zukes form but don't advance past about 4 inches. Very disappointing but too early to give up hope.

amothersheartinwords said...

I'm with Flartus - it's just too darn HOT! I am usually sneaking onto my neighbors porches with baskets of zucchini and yellow squash and this year we had enough to eat fresh a few times, then that was that.

Same thing. Bloom, fruit and.....die off.

Sigh. I always say, "next summer..."

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