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Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

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Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  lalawson on 6/20/2013, 9:44 am

I just pulled these from my garden. These were laying on the ground so I'm hoping this just has something to do with it laying in the soil. I do have a few others that are not turning brown yet that are up a little but they look sort of funny at the end of the flower. Not really sure how squash grows but could this be a mineral dificiency? I already checked it for a vine borer and I don't think I have one of those. This yellow leaf is from the bottom of the plant but the part of the plant looks okay and green.

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  southern gardener on 6/20/2013, 10:57 am

It looks like they didn't get pollinated, so they died. do you see bees in your garden?
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  mschaef on 6/20/2013, 11:49 am

I agree with GG that they don't look like they got pollinated. You can hand pollinate them if you don't see bees or other pollinators doing it.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  Pollinator on 6/20/2013, 3:12 pm

The squash leaf dying is normal for the outer leaves, as the season progresses.

The other is a pollination problem. Remember pollination is a progressive thing, not an on/off switch. It depends on the number of pollen grains that are delivered to the female flower.

If you don't see 2-4 bees in each blossom at any one time, you are lacking in bees, and need to work on improving bee populations in your area.

Meanwhile, you can hand pollinate. Here's more:

http://gardensouth.org/2011/06/15/evaluating-squash-pollination/
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  Gunny on 6/20/2013, 11:20 pm

Good link Dave, it explained some of my own questions and troubles with my butternut that are drying up in this weather. Managed to save some of the plants by air layering the runners. Have got new growth on the ends of the vines where they were just drying up before. The heat just dedicated the leaves starting at the leaf edge and working its way to the stems. If I can get enough fruit for seed I will have these adapted to my area in a couple of years. The seed that I planted came from a store bought and who knows where that came from. Have a happy.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  greatgranny on 8/2/2013, 10:58 am

I have butternut squash planted.  The fruit are about 6 - 8 inches long.  Some are starting to turn to the normal color.  Yesterday I noticed that on some of them there appears to be blossom end rot.  Now, my question is this, if they had progressed to this size and had already changed color, etc.  why would this be happening?  I have never had this happen before.  I've grown this variety for years.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  grownsunshine on 8/2/2013, 12:00 pm

I believe you can self pollinate the squash yourself, at least that's what I've been doing with zucchini after reading about this on the forum somewhere. When both the male and female flower open, you can take a Qtip or some long object or even take the male flower and directly rub the pollen inside the female flower. I don't know about others, but it took my zucchini plants a couple attempts before I started having success. My first few zukes died. Now every zuke so far has been growing to maturity. I'm not sure if the plant needs to be mature enough to start growing fruit. That was my experience. It sounds like your on the right track and I'm sure you'll have success soon.

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  Pollinator on 8/2/2013, 1:00 pm

grownsunshine wrote:I believe you can self pollinate the squash yourself, at least that's what I've been doing with zucchini after reading about this on the forum somewhere. When both the male and female flower open, you can take a Qtip or some long object or even take the male flower and directly rub the pollen inside the female flower. I don't know about others, but it took my zucchini plants a couple attempts before I started having success. My first few zukes died. Now every zuke so far has been growing to maturity. I'm not sure if the plant needs to be mature enough to start growing fruit. That was my experience. It sounds like your on the right track and I'm sure you'll have success soon.

The plant is not doing it, so it's not self pollination. YOU are the pollinator - and we usually refer to this as hand pollination.

Otherwise you are on the right track in your procedures. Congratulations.

Now we need to start increasing our bee populations.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  grownsunshine on 8/2/2013, 2:39 pm

I'm thinking of growing Borage, Sunflower and a couple of other flowers. I see FamilyGardening is growing some up in Washington and apparently it's pretty easy to grow and it blossoms early so bees should start being available early spring. http://ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/Plant_of_the_Month/March_2007-Borage/

...not to get off subject....I'm just saying for those of us who may need a few more bees in our garden to help pollinate our squash, etc.

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  greatgranny on 8/2/2013, 4:15 pm

grownsunshine wrote:I believe you can self pollinate the squash yourself, at least that's what I've been doing with zucchini after reading about this on the forum somewhere. When both the male and female flower open, you can take a Qtip or some long object or even take the male flower and directly rub the pollen inside the female flower. I don't know about others, but it took my zucchini plants a couple attempts before I started having success. My first few zukes died. Now every zuke so far has been growing to maturity. I'm not sure if the plant needs to be mature enough to start growing fruit. That was my experience. It sounds like your on the right track and I'm sure you'll have success soon.

Okay, I understand about this part. Yes, I have had in the past the small ones that eventually die off. Never have I had any this size up and start dying. Would they grow this big and still not be pollinated?
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  camprn on 8/2/2013, 10:05 pm

greatgranny wrote:
Okay, I understand about this part.  Yes, I have had in the past the small ones that eventually die off.  Never have I had any this size up and start dying.  Would they grow this big and still not be pollinated?
Poor pollination due to lack of pollinators in the flowers... If the insect pollinators aren't doing it and you're not pollinating, the fruit dies and the plant tries again

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  greatgranny on 8/2/2013, 10:36 pm

camprn wrote:
greatgranny wrote:
Okay, I understand about this part.  Yes, I have had in the past the small ones that eventually die off.  Never have I had any this size up and start dying.  Would they grow this big and still not be pollinated?
Poor pollination due to lack of pollinators in the flowers... If the insect pollinators aren't doing it and you're not pollinating, the fruit dies and the plant tries again

I still don't feel that my question has been answered.  Yes, the small ones that die, I get that part.  But, would a squash blossom that is not pollinated grow to the size that mine have done?  

Okay, anyway, I decided to make "lemonade" from the two that were on the vine and starting to deteriorate.  I cut of the bad part and then washed and sliced them thinly and sauteed them in olive oil and a small pat of butter.  Salt and peppered them and ate the whole thing.  What a treat.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  camprn on 8/2/2013, 10:50 pm

Do you have blossom end rot on any of your other vegetables?
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/yellow-squash-rot-vine-54783.html

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  greatgranny on 8/2/2013, 11:06 pm

camprn wrote:Do you have blossom end rot on any of your other vegetables?
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/yellow-squash-rot-vine-54783.html

I checked the tomatoes - none.  My cucumbers, melons, eggplant and peppers are doing great.  

I went out after I pruned some of the many huge leaves like someone suggested and then I dissolved some calcium/mag tablets and then added some powdered milk to the container and gave the area a good drink.  Tomorrow I will check the blossoms that are currently on and see if I can pollinate some too.  I have lots of bees but maybe they just couldn't find the blossoms.  The plants were very bushy before I pruned.  

Something I noticed today.  The ones that are still on and not yet showing signs of rot have a large end like the mature ones will have when they are fully developed.  The ones that I cut off to eat didn't have that.  

Well, I like the fact that someone mentioned in a post here that when this happens just think of them as summer squash.  It was delicious.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  greatgranny on 8/3/2013, 1:05 pm

Imagine that. Pruning is working. The bees are having a party on the squash. I wondered why there were none on the bee balm this morning so I walked over to the squash and they were there. Next time I'll know better than to allow the squash plant to get like a jungle. (bush type)
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  grownsunshine on 8/3/2013, 2:52 pm

I'm happy for you that you are having some success with your squash. You must feel relief. That was a lesson for us all. Keep us updated.

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  greatgranny on 8/6/2013, 5:28 pm

Well, the squash finally has some that are hanging on.  

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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  boffer on 8/6/2013, 6:03 pm

greatgranny wrote:...I still don't feel that my question has been answered.  Yes, the small ones that die, I get that part.  But, would a squash blossom that is not pollinated grow to the size that mine have done?...

Greatgranny, I had a similar experience this year with summer yellow squash. The earliest squashes grew to about 8 inches, but were an abnormal dark yellow. Some of them were Siamese twins attached to each other lengthwise. Really weird looking! I started getting normal squash about a month later.

The first dark yellow squashes quit growing and have just sat there not changing. I cut them off yesterday, and found that they were hollow on the inside. I did notice a shortage of bees early in the year, and have decided that the problem was poor pollination-enough pollination to get them going, but not enough to finish the job.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  sanderson on 8/6/2013, 7:53 pm

Boffer,  I was thinking the same thing. thinking 

During one of my early Googles, I read an article about hand pollinating.  There were photos of fully pollinated veggies (the squash is the one I remembered) and those that were partially pollinated just enough to grow for a while or even to harvest. They were irregularly shaped and when cut open, the seed development was good at one end and weak or non-existant at the other end.
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Re: Squash fruit is browning before maturity!

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/7/2013, 1:03 am

I had a zucchini like that about a month ago. Stem side was big as a pickle and a healthy dark green, but the other end suddenly tapered down into being pencil thin and was a bright yellow. Finally looked like it was starting to whither, so I plucked it. The end that turned yellow and shrank had looked perfectly normal for a while. Perhaps it just stayed its same size after a certain point, while the properly-pollinated stem end grew up wider right beside it.
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