Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce
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Author:  CapeCodder [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:02 am ]
Post subject:  Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

Help with Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only producing male flowers, first bloom 2 wks ago. New garden location, full sun, 4-8" of compost, t-tape drip irrigation. Other plants in garden doing well. Plants appear healthy, are "loaded" with male flower buds. Do not see any female buds with immature fruit. I have never had this happen before. I am unaware of such a thing as male squash plants. Our peppers, tomatoes, beans & potatoes producing flowers & fruit. I know that the squash plants will usually begin producing male flowers before the female flowers for pollen, however I am at a loss. Have not added any fertilizer to the garden, with exception of Epson Salt when planting peppers & tomatoes.

I am located in Falmouth, Massachusetts, coastal area of Cape Cod.

Thanks Ed

Author:  northwesterner [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

This is quite typical in my garden (I'm in Texas and have been growing zucchini for several months by now). The plants always seem to start with male flowers. Perhaps this is a way to chum for pollinators, so they're coming to check out the plant before the female flowers appear.

It is my experience that zucchini (in particular) is pretty stealthy - those squash are nowhere to be seen one day, and the next you go back and there is a monster squash hidden under the leaves. My zucchini is at the edge of the garden and tends to end up with a lot of grass and weeds around it by the end of the season and that grass hides some of the squash so I must search carefully every day. And have a great recipe for that big squash that turns up every now and then.

Author:  CapeCodder [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

Thanks for the prompt reply :) This is my first attempt at organic gardening! New sunny location, cleared a pice of brush & woodland, covered the area with 12+ inches of compost that I got free from our town compost leave & grass recycle facility. Not used any fertilizer, plan to feed all the plants with Neptune Harvest & Garrett combo this weekend.

I have had my share of discovering zucchini baseball bats that seem to appear overnight.

We usually split them in half lengthwise scoop the seeds and fill them with veggie breadcrumbs, italian spices & sometimes cooked ground meat or sausage, top with pasta sauce and cheese. Bake in ovenproof dish in oven or wrapped in foil on grill until zucchini is tender and cheese is bubbly.

Author:  northwesterner [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

zucchini baseball bats


I don't know what kind of pests you have up there, but down here in Texas there are moths that lay eggs and their larvae (caterpillars or worms) bore into the stems and can kill them just as they seem to be big and begin producing. You may need to ask around in your local garden center to find out about local pests. There are plenty of organic approaches to those pests, but if you haven't put out beneficial nematodes, you should get some (if they are sold locally they will be refrigerated - you can also get them mail order, shipped overnight) and spray them in the morning or evening -best done after a rain or watering. Beneficial nematodes are good for taking care of a lot of the larval stages in the soil and they also will keep down fleas if you have pets. BT can be used (Thuricide, etc. are Bacillus thuringiensis) selectively (don't broadcast, it will harm/kill butterflies) on the plant to keep the moths away. If the larvae get into the stem then the remedy is more involved. Better to keep them out.

All of this said, you may have an entirely different set of pests. But an application of beneficial nematodes is a great way to start protecting that zucchini crop and anything else in that new garden plot. Good luck with your squash - I have several dishes I make with the smaller squash, my dogs always get a vegetable with their dry food in the evening and home-grown squash is one I use. And if you've never made pickles out of zucchini, you owe yourself that treat. I have bread and butter pickles that add a great flavor to any sandwich they're served with. They'll knock the socks off of anyone who thinks they only way to make pickles is with cucumber!

Your stuffed squash recipe sounds very similar to one described by a friend of mine who grew up on Long Island, New York. She asks me specifically to bring her any of those huge squash because she makes a dish like that.

Author:  CapeCodder [ Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

I received the following reply from another forum where I posted the same question.

First two weeks will be males after that it means to much nitrogen for those plants do not feed them anymore.

Author:  CapeCodder [ Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Up Date - Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

Following a nearly a month of producing male blossoms, my robust zucchini plants are beginning to produce female blossoms. I am beginning to harvest squash. I am noticing that the squash vine borers are also making an appearance. I have tried burying the damaged area of the vines with a 2" covering of compost and it appears as though the plant is not feeling the effects of the borer. I purchased the BT but have not used it. I will continue to monitor the effects of 'treating with compost' to see if the plant recovers and continues to produce. I do use drip irrigation and provide water every few days.

Author:  northwesterner [ Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

I vote you use the BT, but it's probably too late. It needs to be used around the plant (ideally) on the spot before you even plant it. Don't broadcast, it can harm butterflies. Those borers are nasty in that you are looking forward to a great crop one day, and the next the whole plant is wilted to nothing.

Author:  CapeCodder [ Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

Updates and thoughts, The garden was newly located with T-Tape drip irrigation this year, planting seeds or seedlings along the tape. The planting soil is 12" of compost that was probably too rich with nitrogen as the squash were producing many male & few female blossoms for weeks. The plants were robust, with each hill spreading to +4' in diameter. Later in season squash began to appear. The Yellow Crookneck summer and Zucchini squash were hit with squash vine borers. I purchased the BT but thought that it was to late to apply. They also developed powdery mildew that I did not treat. I decided to cover half of the Zucchini borer infected plants with 2" of compost and watered it in well. The Zucchini plants that I covered with compost recovered and began to produce squash even with the powdery mildew. I know that the season is coming to a close. I am thinking that next year that I will plant my squash as usual and that I will 'mulch' a few of the plants with additional compost to see if it may help to prevent the borers. This is what makes backyard gardening interesting!

Author:  northwesterner [ Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Summer Squash (Yellow & Zucchini) are only produce

That is interesting! Keep up the reports, please! For the powdery mildew you can spray some store strength (3%) hydrogen peroxide onto the leaves as it begins to appear and that will usually stop it in its tracks.

I had those usual pests, plus mice in my garden this year. It's always something!

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