Question about pollinating zucchini

kpev7hard(7)July 8, 2012

I live in Baltimore City, Maryland. I have a very small plot of space to grow veggies, usually I only have room for one zucchini plant each year. My problem is that I must stink at growing zucchini. Everyone else is overloaded with them, but I barely get one every few weeks! This happens to me every year. I've tried varieties that are supposed to be prolific, yet still nothing. This year I am growing Black Beauty.

I get lots of flowers and little guys on there, then they die off, and I read that has to do with pollination. So I set out to pollinate them myself. I read that morning, before 10am, is the best time and I've been out every morning to try and pollinate. But none of the female flowers are ever open! I have 3-4 small zucchinis (1-3" long) out there right now with flowers that have yet to open. At least I've never seen them open, they don't look dead, they look like they're still going to open.

Do the flowers on zucchini fruits not open for a while?

Am I going about this the wrong way?

For that matter, I am having the same trouble with my cantaloupes. Tons of flowers, and I see the female flowers on the stem with their little ovaries, but the flowers never open and the ovaries shrivel up and die off.

Please help!

-Karen

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buford(7 NE GA)

I would try earlier, 8am or as soon as you can get out there. Since it's been so hot, the flowers may close earlier in the day.

It also helps if you have some flowers planted around the veggie garden to attract bees and other pollinators so you don't have to do it all yourself.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 5:30PM
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terrybull

or maybe there not ready to open. mine close around 10am. try earlier.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 5:57PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree much earlier in the AM. As early as possible, 6 am. They are only open early and for a short time.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:16PM
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kpev7hard(7)

Thanks, everyone. I have checked as early as 5:45am before I get ready for work, still no females open, but I'll keep checking!

I have thought about putting some flowering annuals in the garden near them to encourage pollinators, but I didn't think I had room. Maybe it's time to MAKE some room!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:22PM
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kpev7hard(7)

I did a little more googling and read that when the weather gets too hot sometimes that can cause the female flowers to not open. Mine are still a bit greenish so they seem immature yet, but closed up tight. Some gardeners will pull back one of the female petals and pollinate anyway. I might test this. Our weather has been 90-100 for days so I'm sure that can't help. The heat is supposed to break tonight so maybe I'll get some open flowers tomorrow!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:35PM
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momtopom03(z6b MA)

I'm going to do the same thing. I have seen bees in my garden but yesterday, I noticed the flowers were all closed up and some had already dropped off. I thought to be safe, I'll hand pollinate. Only problem, I can't get there first thing in the morning (my garden is not in my own yard). Is it ok if I do it in the evening? Can I just open the flower and pollinate if it's closed?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:09PM
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