Lonely Squash Plant

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Once again, I call upon the wisdom and experience of other gardeners out there in the blogosphere. Today my question is about squash.

This is the first year I planted squash, and I have one plant growing in a not-so-good location (underneath a giant sunflower -- by accident). I think it is a yellow crookneck type, but I'm not 100 percent sure. (I'm notorious for not labeling things, and then I sometimes forget what, exactly, I've planted -- or where!)

Since the squash plant lives underneath a sunflower, it hasn't grown very big, but it is getting blossoms. The flowers bloom for about a day and then they wrinkle up and fall off, but I don't see any squash forming. Is this because I need a second plant -- for cross-fertilization? Can I hand fertilize the blossoms on the one plant? And if so... what do I do if there's only one blossom open at a time? I suppose I could go around to other people's plots and ask to "exchange" squash pollen, but that might seem as if I'm getting too personal too quickly -- LOL!

My newbieness as a squash grower is really shining through here, isn't it? I'll take any and all advice.


Blogger Stunned Donor said...

Squash have both male and female flowers on the same plant and often a plant will put out a lot of male flowers before a female appears, to further confuse things; sometimes the females will appear before the males and have tiny fruit that don't get pollinated and they die and rot. This leads people to think there is something wrong with the plant.

Squash like full sun, but I don't think the sunflower blocks it that much, be patient and you'll probably get some fruit soon.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

I usually plant at least two, usually three squash plants, because the perverse little things never seem to produce a male and female flower at the same time (you wonder how they survived so long). So yes, you either need to pick a male flower from a neighbor when you have a female (it's obvious: they have itty-bitty, perfectly miniature squash on their bases, which when fertilized form into the real thing,and when not fertilized drop off in a day or so) and make the male and female flower "kiss". One male flower will do for as many females as you (lucky you) happen to have.

Love the blog, by the way. I've bookmarked it. Thanks to your influence, I'm trying to start a cooperative gardening initiative where I live, in Greenbelt MD!

11:48 PM  
Blogger David (Snappy) said...

I just read all the comments.Dont know anything about squash.Maybe to be grown in the future.At least you asked, so we can all learn.
I love your blog too BTW!!

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my - squash sex - it's just too much... Love the post!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thanks so much for explaining this to me. It's like Dr. Ruth for plant care - LOL!

Diana and Snappy,
I am so happy to hear you're enjoying my blog. Thank you.

Diana, I would love to know more about the cooperative gardening initiative you're starting. Glad I could be a positive influence in some way.

I originally intended to give this post a more risqué title, but then I chickened out. Can't get squash without squash sex, right?

So now I have to go investigate and see if my squash flowers are "manly" or "womanly", and do a little matchmaking.

8:19 PM  
Blogger earlysnowdrop said...

One explanation about why the male flowers appear before the female flowers. The early blooming male flowers are there to attract the bees. That way when the female flower blooms, the bees are already there to do their job of pollinating.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

My lonely, probably pumpkin, plant I posted finally got lucky and seems to have some fruit developing(hey-internet dating for squash might work).

Might try a little wine & music too.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have a beautiful summer squash plant and my grandson broke a couple of the stems. Any you guys know if it will survive. Is there anything I can do to help it not die. Thanks.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If you have male flowers -the ones without the tiny lenght of squash behind it -just shake your plants or pull the male off and wipe it against the female

12:03 PM  

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