Question about pollinating zucchini
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.