Comments: Calling all gardeners: zucchini advice needed!

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The one thing I can say about the zucchini problem is in the second year, it sounds like you had "blossom end drop," which is a malfunction of pollination, which is usually caused by a fungus that grows from too much moisture.

I do remember, and just read that summer squash are very heavy feeders--and the organic gardening books I have all say to use application of fertilizer, like your worm tea, every two weeks during the growing season. Container plants are especially heavy feeders, because their root systems are restricted to the planters--they can go no farther than the pot to get their nutrients.

As for spinach--plant it in either very early spring or fall. Do not expect a crop in the summer in the heat. It will not happen. Spinach is a cold weather crop, and that is how it is. You might be able to find a heat tolerant variety, but if you want something that tastes like spinach (only for cooking--raw, it tastes kind of icky) opt for malabar spinach. A totally different plant, but if you are going to cook it, it tastes like spinach.

Young chard, raw tastes sort of like spinach and it is much more heat tolerant.

Brilliant, thanks Barbara!

If you want a spinach-like green in the summer you could grow amaranth instead. I don't know how easily you can find that in Paris, however.

oscar, I'm not even sure what it's called, but I'll try to find out. The thing about the spinach is that I planted it in March. We had such a crappy spring, though, that it never really progressed until mid-June, when I guess the weather was - suddenly and exremely - too hot for it.

I'm always reading in newspapers about lettuce plants that are easy to grow but so far have not had much luck. I had a few arugula strands a couple of years ago, but they also bolted quickly. Back when we lived in the 16th I managed three tiny heads of perpetual lettuce, but they never yielded more than enough for a half a salad at a time altogether. Some day I'll find that mythical easy to grow lettuce! (Maybe Amaranth??!?)

It sounds like you're doing everything correctly in terms of sunshine, watering, etc.; the reason your zucchini are withering is simply that the zucchini blossoms aren't being pollinated. All types of squash grow in the same way -- first they produce what looks like a miniature version of the squash, so you think you're being a master gardener and are very proud of yourself, and then they bloom for one day. If they're not pollinated that day, the little squash will get all squishy and fade away. It's confusing because most (all?) other plants flower first, and then produce the fruit after pollination. You must not be getting enough bee traffic between your zucchini blossoms. To pollinate the zucchini yourself, stick your finger in the blossoms and transfer the pollen between them. Good luck!

It sounds like you're doing everything correctly in terms of sunshine, watering, etc.; the reason your zucchini are withering is simply that the zucchini blossoms aren't being pollinated. All types of squash grow in the same way -- first they produce what looks like a miniature version of the squash, so you think you're being a master gardener and are very proud of yourself, and then they bloom for one day. If they're not pollinated that day, the little squash will get all squishy and fade away. It's confusing because most (all?) other plants flower first, and then produce the fruit after pollination. You must not be getting enough bee traffic between your zucchini blossoms. To pollinate the zucchini yourself, stick your finger in the blossoms and transfer the pollen between them. Good luck!

I cannot offer any great advice but I can offer sympathy. I am in the same boat.
My sister who I gave plants to had more zucchini than a Farmers Market. I had.. two.
The next year I had none. It has followed that exact pattern.

I, however, have surrendered this year. I am buying from the local farmers down the road. They have a bumper crop.. again in the same conditions as I had. Sigh.

I will be interested to see what is said on your problem. Perhaps I will find my solution here too.

Elizabeth, thanks for the tip - I'll try pollinating tonight! Probably too late for the ones I have, but you never know...

I wish I had the patience to grow my own produce. For me the second best thing is getting it at a farmer's market on weekends.

Here's one tip - save those blossoms, pluck the stamens, and sautee them in a little olive oil or butter and garlic. They go into tacos with cheese and guacamole or plain avocade very well.

I got nothing on how to grow them.

I would recommend only having a few of the fruits growing at a time so that the plant can focus on making them as good as possible. I know that's what you have to do with pepper plants, because they go crazy flowering.

Fertilizer is pretty much always a good thing with container plants, but make sure you don't "burn" the plants (too much, sometimes too soon).

Hope this is any help...

I live in California and can't get anything to grow, except weeds. I'm not convinced California is all that great a place to grow plants.

This year I hired a landscaper to put in a flower bed. I water it ever day and it isn't dead yet.

I grow flowers, they don't die.

Biggles

The best thing I can suggest is to build a catapult (using plans from http://www.trebuchet.com/plans.html) and launch the zucchini at some neighbor you dislike. But then I've never liked zooks, not even fresh from the garden.

I am so glad that I found this posting...it has been extremely helpful for me because I have been having the exact same problem with my zucchini! Actually, mine is worse...I'm not getting ANY fruit. True, the bee traffic in the area that I am growing in is not great, so that could be a factor. Now that I know how to self-pollinate, perhaps I will try that. I have three hills of very healthy looking plants with large, bright blossoms - I'm just not getting any vegetables. I thought perhaps the heavy rains we'd had for so many weeks in the spring and early summer were a factor (and perhaps they have been as well), but the pollination issue will be the first step I will take.
Thanks for posting - this has been helpful!

I also get nice lookig plants, lots of beautiful flowers and hardly any zucchini. This is the 3rd year in a row! I used to be drowning in zucchini. I also will try the pollination thing.
Mickey

I am growing zucchini and I have had lots of flowers. They open and then close...then, several day later, they drop off! I've had about 10 flowers that have dropped off, leaving just a stalk behind. Why?? I won't get any zucchini at this rate!

Growing zucchihnis is the same in Australia.
Fifteen years ago (or around about that)
there was no problem. We had plenty of bees to do the pollinating. But now there are not many bees around. I think it could oe because of the presence of the dreaded
European wasp.
Anyway the thing you have to do is look at the plants first. Look for the flowers. The male ones are on the end of thin stalks and
longer than the females. The female flowers are on shorter and thicker stalks - these are the vegetable - if you can get them going!
Wait till the sun shines and the flowers open
then transfer the pollen from the male to the female - I use a cotton bud and it works ok - does the trick.
It's almost like - boom boom!

Graeme.

I ALSO GET GOOD LOOKING PLANTS,
THE FLOWERS ARE BEAUITFUL FOR 2 MONTH I HAVE HAD MY GORDEN, NOT ONE ZUCCHINI , THE PLANTS LOOK LIKE YOUR PICTURE. I AM GLAD I FOUND THIS SIGHT IT IS A BIG HELP.BY THE WAY I DO HAVE BEE TRAFFIC.

We are in the bahamas and have the same problem: beautiful and plentiful blooms on my zucchini plants, but they drop off before fruiting - will try self-pollination and post results!

Lots of good imput, however, does anyone out there know if after the male blossom blooms can it be removed, leaving the female which bears the fruit? Does the male suck nutrients that could go to female helping to mature the fruit.

somebody can tell me why the flowers on my zucchini tree are all falling down?
thanks

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