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Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

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Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  hammock gal on 7/22/2017, 7:50 pm

I have loads of green tomatoes, a few peppers, and a couple of cukes, but so far, I have not been able to find any zucchini. Granted, my SFG is an overgrown jungle of lush, green leaves, stems and tendrils, but I really haven't been able to see any zukes in there. I've always heard stories about zucchini being so prolific that people sneak onto their neighbor's porches in the dead of night to deposit their excess ones. So I thought they'd be a cinch to grow. This is my first time with them, and I've just been reading about the male and female flowers, so tomorrow, I will have to see if I'm able to locate both of them. I was thinking that if the tomatoes, cukes and peppers have been pollinated, that the zucchini would be too, but do I need to get out there and "bee" a pollinator myself? Is there a reason why the pollinators would have hit the other plants but not the zucchinis?
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  Robbomb116 on 7/22/2017, 9:34 pm

One thing with zucchini and all squash really is the first about 10 or so flowers are all male, so even though you're seeing flowers, you moghtbnot have female flowers yet.

Side note, the male flowers are edible too! So you can pick the first 5 or 6 usually to eat and still know you'll have male flowers to pollinate the female flowers when they arrive.
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  hammock gal on 7/23/2017, 9:24 am

Robbomb116 wrote:One thing with zucchini and all squash really is the first about 10 or so flowers are all male, so even though you're seeing flowers, you moghtbnot have female flowers yet.

Side note, the male flowers are edible too! So you can pick the first 5 or 6 usually to eat and still know you'll have male flowers to pollinate the female flowers when they arrive.

Ahh, this is good to know! I haven't eaten squash blossoms since my wonderful Italian landlady used to make them for me, many years ago. I found this recipe, which sounds very much like she used to make them. Maybe I'll give it a go. hungry
https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/fried-ricotta-stuffed-zucchini.html
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/24/2017, 1:53 pm

Robbomb116 wrote:One thing with zucchini and all squash really is the first about 10 or so flowers are all male, so even though you're seeing flowers, you moghtbnot have female flowers yet.


I'm so glad you posted this.  I always think my seeds and plants are duds.
Altho I still have to wonder why the fruits sometimes shrivel up and fall off BEFORE the flower has even opened. That makes me a little crazy.
hyper
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  SQWIB on 7/24/2017, 3:30 pm

I cant grow Zukes
I hand pollinated and got a few but me and Zucchini do not get along.
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  plantoid on 7/24/2017, 4:53 pm

Curbits in general & especially courgettes ie . marrows & zuch can be problematic in pollination especially if there are not many honey bees or bumble bees flying .
You'll  also  need in excess of  50 oF or  10 oC air temp & a fairly dry day .........65 to 70 oF is best  . Much past 70 oF & the plant starts to close down for the day as it's getting too hot .

 WRT . which flower arrives first ...
I've always thought that the female flower arrived first , however  it matters not really .

What does matter is how to identify the differences twixt male & female flowers .

A female flower is recognised by being a flower in bud on a stem about 3 inches long ,  24 hrs later if the weather is over 65 oF & not too wet  this stem starts to swell like a mini , mini zuch & the flower bud starts to show  a willingness to start opening up .
 So now  you have a 1/3 ( 8 mm ) dia by 3 or so inches long baby zuc etc. with an about to open bloom in front of you .
 
The flower will usually open the next day ,  by which time you should also see a young male flowers either on this plant or the all important " stand by in reserve plant " adjacent to it .

 The male flower looks like a female but the stem from which the flower head grows does not have any indication of the swelling . In other words this stem is about 1/8 inch thick for the three inches of its length .

  Now for the easy bit  between 0800 & 11.00 hrs  as the day warms up when pollen & nectar production are on the rise cut off a single male flower if it has opened up and rub the pollen head into three or four female flowers .

 Or
 You may want to try using a fine soft squirrel hair artists water painting brush or a rabbits tail pollinating mop to take pollen off the male flower & put it in the female flowers instead .

As far as I can discover  , you need a male curbit of the same species to pollinate the female . So you can't use say a bean pollen flower  to fertilize the curbit .

 If the female flower does not get fertilized it will start to go rotten when the flower falls off . Often referred to as Blossom End Rot or BER

Some times if you have several plants with a lot of unfertilized female growth they can be cut off & added in a salad or popped in a stir fry .
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  plantoid on 7/25/2017, 7:34 am

That's even better having the pictures SR. 
I also forgot to say the male flowers have the long thin straggly leaves at the base of the flower whereas there are none on the female flower  to speak of .

 This a.m. two male flowers have opened , so with luck & judicious use of an artists soft paint brush they will ensure total pollination of the half dozen or so female flowers on the yellow zuch's in my ANSFG bed
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/25/2017, 10:19 am

Plantoid, why do the females sometimes shrivel up and die before their flower opens?
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  hammock gal on 7/27/2017, 4:01 pm

Small family emergency had me away from the garden for a few days. Thanks for all the info, much appreciated. I finally had a chance to get out and check for male/female blossoms, and honestly, all the ones I see appear to be male. I'm keeping my fingers crossed some females make an appearance! But I have to tell you, it's a jungle in there!!! My SFG bed is so thick, there could be females that I just can't find. The tomatoes are about seven feet tall and sprawling everywhere, the zukes and cukes have such big leaves that I've totally lost the peppers! I'm going to have to mount an excursion into the "heart of darkness" soon, to see what goodies may be trapped in there. Shocked
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Re: Do I need to pollinate my zucchinis?

Post  CapeCoddess on 7/27/2017, 4:41 pm

HG, I'd LOVE to see your garden. Would you please post photos in the New England thread? Pretty please?
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