The highs and lows of growing squash
Several helpful commenters chimed in and I learned that squash produces male and female flowers on the same plant. The males usually open first to attract bees. When the female flowers open, you can pick a male flower and make it "kiss" the females -- thus inducing pollination. The female flowers are easy to identify because they have a miniature replica of a squash located at their base.
So I went back to the garden a few days later to see what kind of flowers I had on my squash plant. I was surprised -- overjoyed even! -- to find that there was already a beautiful little yellow squash waiting for me. My first squash! I was so happy! I didn't even have to intervene!
But hold on. Not so fast.
See the flower bud that's attached to the end of my "squash" in the photo above? One commenter, Diana, broke the bad news to me. She said that if the flower hadn't opened yet and wasn't fertilized, then that "squash" -- actually an ovary -- would fall off.
So back to the garden I went. And sure enough, my baby squash was turning all mushy. A few days later, I had nothing left but this dry, shriveled up, dead ovary carcass.
I was so disappointed. It was one of those moments in the gardening experience when I say to myself: You know, X vegetable is only $.99 a pound at the supermarket, so why even bother?
So now... there's another new "squash" forming on the plant. It's gotten bigger than the previous one and it looks very promising. The blossom has dropped and the squash seems to be holding on just fine. But I didn't even take a picture of it because I don't want to jinx it. I will only believe it when I see it on my dinner plate.