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Post  songstriss on 7/19/2012, 11:33 pm

I am so excited. I have my very first zucchini! Isn't it a cutie! okay

I'm so excited! Imag1210

Oh btw, the white powder is an organic powder that I used when all of my squash, cukes & cantelope were being eaten by something.

I was reading some of the posts on hand pollinating. How do you know when to pollinate or if the busy bees have already done their thing?
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Post  southern gardener on 7/19/2012, 11:42 pm

you don't really "know" if the bees have done their thing or not. See the flower on the end of your zucchini? That's a female flower, in the morning all the "available" flowers will be open. you can get the pollen from a male flower, (the one with NO squash attached), with a small paint brush etc. "Paint" the female flower with the pollen from the male flower, that's it! My little grandson has really gotten it down about the male and female flowers, and how to pollinate. It's so cute!!
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Post  songstriss on 7/20/2012, 12:03 am

Oh cool. Thanks for explaining. thanks
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Post  Pollinator on 7/20/2012, 12:08 am

@songstriss wrote: How do you know when to pollinate or if the busy bees have already done their thing?

Actually, with squash, it's pretty easy to tell. Your new zuke has been well pollinated. Here's more details: http://gardensouth.org/2011/06/15/evaluating-squash-pollination/
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Post  southern gardener on 7/20/2012, 12:36 am

@Pollinator wrote:
@songstriss wrote: How do you know when to pollinate or if the busy bees have already done their thing?

Actually, with squash, it's pretty easy to tell. Your new zuke has been well pollinated. Here's more details: http://gardensouth.org/2011/06/15/evaluating-squash-pollination
pollinator, I have a couple questions, hope you can answer them! I have TINY squash that are already yellow, look like there is no chance they will make it. The "flower" is also very tiny, not even close to mature. Why does this happen? These always die and fall off, but the flower never even is close to mature, in fact the flower is still green, and the squash is tiny and yellow.
The other question is a pretty good sized squash with a female flower that has not even opened up yet, possibly will be mature and open the next day. How does the squash get so big without the flower even opening yet? Thanks for any help!!
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Post  Pollinator on 7/20/2012, 8:15 am

@southern gardener wrote:
pollinator, I have a couple questions, hope you can answer them! I have TINY squash that are already yellow, look like there is no chance they will make it. The "flower" is also very tiny, not even close to mature. Why does this happen? These always die and fall off, but the flower never even is close to mature, in fact the flower is still green, and the squash is tiny and yellow.
The other question is a pretty good sized squash with a female flower that has not even opened up yet, possibly will be mature and open the next day. How does the squash get so big without the flower even opening yet? Thanks for any help!!

I may not be much help, here. This doesn't sound like any squash I know. Are you sure this is a squash and not some kind of gourd? What kind is it?

Generally, if the flower is weak and undersized to start, I would look to other explanations than pollination as the prime cause - perhaps virus or rootknot nematode. But then I would not expect to see rootknot in sfg beds.

I have seen squash and cukes, where the plants were permanently stunted by a cold spell that didn't actually frost, but got very close to it. These plants made very weak blossoms that were not attractive to bees anyway.

You certainly have me puzzled. Are the vines healthy and strong, or are they stunted?
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Post  camprn on 7/20/2012, 10:39 am

@southern gardener wrote:you don't really "know" if the bees have done their thing or not. See the flower on the end of your zucchini? That's a female flower, in the morning all the "available" flowers will be open. you can get the pollen from a male flower, (the one with NO squash attached), with a small paint brush etc. "Paint" the female flower with the pollen from the male flower, that's it! My little grandson has really gotten it down about the male and female flowers, and how to pollinate. It's so cute!!
As an alternative, the male flower can be picked, pull off the petals and then just directly pollinate the female flower.

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Post  moswell on 7/20/2012, 11:37 am

@southern gardener wrote:
@Pollinator wrote:
@songstriss wrote: How do you know when to pollinate or if the busy bees have already done their thing?

Actually, with squash, it's pretty easy to tell. Your new zuke has been well pollinated. Here's more details: http://gardensouth.org/2011/06/15/evaluating-squash-pollination
pollinator, I have a couple questions, hope you can answer them! I have TINY squash that are already yellow, look like there is no chance they will make it. The "flower" is also very tiny, not even close to mature. Why does this happen? These always die and fall off, but the flower never even is close to mature, in fact the flower is still green, and the squash is tiny and yellow.
The other question is a pretty good sized squash with a female flower that has not even opened up yet, possibly will be mature and open the next day. How does the squash get so big without the flower even opening yet? Thanks for any help!!

SG - this has happened to me too. I believe I read somewhere else that the plant will abort some newly-forming fruit if it can't support growing another at that time. It made sense to me - the times I've seen what you're describing happening this year it has been when I have one or two pollinated zucchini growing already; the smaller, newly formed fruits begin to shrivel up before they have a chance to open up their blooms.

That said, just the other day I pried open the bloom on an incipient zucchini that was getting bigger, but the flower hadn't really opened yet, and pollinated it myself. I had the male flower that day, and felt like it was worth taking a chance. It seems to have worked - the zucchini is looking pretty good now. I also use camprn's method of just peeling away the petals on the male flower and pollinating it directly.
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Post  southern gardener on 7/20/2012, 12:11 pm

@Pollinator wrote:
@southern gardener wrote:
pollinator, I have a couple questions, hope you can answer them! I have TINY squash that are already yellow, look like there is no chance they will make it. The "flower" is also very tiny, not even close to mature. Why does this happen? These always die and fall off, but the flower never even is close to mature, in fact the flower is still green, and the squash is tiny and yellow.
The other question is a pretty good sized squash with a female flower that has not even opened up yet, possibly will be mature and open the next day. How does the squash get so big without the flower even opening yet? Thanks for any help!!

I may not be much help, here. This doesn't sound like any squash I know. Are you sure this is a squash and not some kind of gourd? What kind is it?

Generally, if the flower is weak and undersized to start, I would look to other explanations than pollination as the prime cause - perhaps virus or rootknot nematode. But then I would not expect to see rootknot in sfg beds.

I have seen squash and cukes, where the plants were permanently stunted by a cold spell that didn't actually frost, but got very close to it. These plants made very weak blossoms that were not attractive to bees anyway.

You certainly have me puzzled. Are the vines healthy and strong, or are they stunted?

Hi Pollinator, thank you for the reply. They are butternut squash for the most part, a few different kinds too, but i'm mostly noticing it on that plant. My plants definitely are stunted. They are in Mel's Mix, but I'm working on a solution for that. It's so strange, I have "good" babies right next to tiny ones. Maybe it's the plant saying I can't support this one..ty again for the help!!
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Post  yolos on 7/20/2012, 12:18 pm

That article on squash pollination was excellent. I never new that the squash could be partially pollinated and grow a little then die off. That is exactly what is happening to a few of my squash. They appear to be pollinated because they continue to grow but eventually they shrivel up and stop growing while other squash on the same plant grow to maturity. They grow longer than a fruit that has not been pollinated but not as long or as well as a fully pollinated squash. Now I know why. Even though I have a bee hive about 50 feet away, they apparently are not doing a good enough job or it has been too hot and the pollen is no longer viable.
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Post  Pollinator on 7/20/2012, 2:24 pm

@yolos wrote:That article on squash pollination was excellent. I never new that the squash could be partially pollinated and grow a little then die off...
Even though I have a bee hive about 50 feet away, they apparently are not doing a good enough job or it has been too hot and the pollen is no longer viable.

Thank you. Few gardeners realize this; most think of pollination as an on/off switch; it's either done or not done. With multi-seeded fruits, as you see, this is not true.

In my experience honey bees are excellent pollinators for large planting, i.e., fields of squash, where there is little else for them, but it's so low on their preference list that they usually ignore small plantings. I contract pollinated many acres of squash until my retirement. But now in my garden (with a half dozen hives within a stone's throw) the squash is pollinated by squash bees and bumble bees. Squash bees look like honey bees, but are a little smaller. They work in shifts with the bumble bees, starting at daybreak. When they quit, the bumblebees come. Squash bees tend to linger in the flowers a lot longer than honey bees, and the males will sleep in the closed flowers for the night.
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Post  songstriss on 7/20/2012, 5:06 pm

Wow there is so much I didn't know. study Thank you all for sharing. I went out to check on my lil zuc and it has grown like an inch and a half in just one day! hyper Is that normal? How do I know when to pick it?
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Post  Goosegirl on 7/20/2012, 6:36 pm

@songstriss wrote: How do I know when to pick it?

Pick it when it is the size you want it. If you like them small with few seeds/small seed cavity, pick the little ones. If you want stuffers, let them get club-size. Warning! There are always one or two that hide and become clubs whether you want them to or not!

GG
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Post  songstriss on 7/20/2012, 10:38 pm

Ugh I'm so excited! 950477 I just went out to check on my garden and their where a whole bunch of tiny green grasshoppers all over my zucchini and squash plants. What do I do about these lil critters?
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Post  songstriss on 7/23/2012, 2:11 pm

My little cutie grew to 8 inches in just 3 days! I harvested it this morning along with a variety of cherry toms. I plan on cookin it up tonight! okay

I'm so excited! Imag1215
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