I have a bush-type zucchini. The zukes are coming along just fine, except for a few, three out of about a dozen. These three have begun to turn yellow starting from the blossom end. I cut the first one open - dissected it, my neighbor said - and there was one little hole in the skin, but the interior of the squash seemed firm and healthy. They just look sickly on the outside. I haven't grown summer squashes before, and it's been years since I grew any squash, but they don't look like what I remember of blossom end rot or vine borers.
Anybody have any ideas or suggestions?
Oh, by little hole I mean the diameter of a pin head extending a few millimeters into the flesh.
it could be these zucchini were not pollinated.
The flowers open just for a few hours in the morning and if the female flower (the one with the zucchini) was not pollinated, the fruit will just turn yellow and fell off.
1. You could ask your pollinators to please go inside every single flowers ... go go go ...
2. You could take the male flower, remove the petal part and rub the pistil inside the female flower. I do this all the time because my zucchini are under an insect barrier. I also leave the male flower inside the female ... so the next day I will know that that zucchini was pollinated. No worries, it is very easy to do.
If a bug dies from poison, the other bugs don't realize what killed him so they come back? If I walk out in the garden and start smashing bugs, they see me and know what killed their friends and relatives, right? So my question is are bugs smart enough to realize that if I go into the garden smashing bugs on a regular basis it would be wise for them to stay out of the garden. Do insects have enough brain power to learn things like that?
I remember there was an old recipe for bug deterent where you gather up some of the offending bugs and run them through a blender with water (and a little soap, to make it stick?), then re-apply the bugs back to the plant. I never tried it myself.
If I squash a bug, I know it is dead, and it makes me feel better. But I think bugs do things by the numbers - their comrades are decoys and if they fall in battle, well that was why they were hanging out together in the first place. Or to put it another way, their brains have one thought - perpetuate my DNA - and two sub-thoughts under that - find host plant, find opposite sex.
I have vacuumed up squash bugs, and some flea beetles (they're harder to vacuum up). I found out that I need to change the vacuum bag afterwards - beetles in any quantity smell bad.
drthor ~ thank you so much! I am astonished by the answer - so cool - I never knew. I shall go out tomorrow and see if I can play pseudo-insect. Ersatz insect? Anyway I'm all energized by this learning.
You can also pollinate your squash, cukes, melons etc with a make up brush or q tip. Drthor's way is easier, I think, but if your looking for other options they're out there. I take a make up brush and get the pollen off the male flower and then put it in the female flowers, when Im planning on making pickles and want to make sure I have enough cukes.
pollengarden - [quote]there was an old recipe for bug deterent where you gather up some of the offending bugs and run them through a blender with water[/quote]
I remember that, too. I think it was in an Organic Gardening magazine many moons ago.
If I remember correctly, the idea was that some bugs are sick, and if you gather many of them together and put them through a blender, spray them on the other bugs, then they all will get sick. I've never tried it either - don't want bugs of any kind whizzing around in my blender!
I read that also many years ago, but mostly I have read that it did not work. With the soapy water mixed in you would think it would have to be at least as effective as Insecticidal soap, just don't think the bug juice adds much to the killing power. I think if this method had any validity tons more gardeners would be using it on a regular basis.
Hmmm...I'm only getting one blossom a day, it's a bush zuke; so I'm trying to stay one flower ahead so I know what I've got to work with the next day. When I prematurely open the petals to peek the blossom fills with ants.
I've tried to find a companion zuke for my plant, with no luck. I finally just bought a yellow summer squash just to see what happens.
This problem with under-pollination are why I grow a variety of summer squash that does not rely on bees to pollinate. I'm not sure how it pollinates but every female flower results in a squash. It is a great producer, On vacation right now so don't have my seed packets handy, will post the name later. They taste and cook like zucchini, very mild and slightly sweet, but have light green color with no stripes. And they seem resistant to squash vine borers.
I have a confession of stupidity: About 2 weeks ago I saw a very odd but interesting bug in my garden...It had an orangish body with dark spots in a line of three. It flew around my squash and gourds, stopping on the ground every so often. I was thinking," Ooh maybe it is a pollinator." I was interested enough to look up this odd little winged bug. **sigh** it was...all together now... a SQUASH VINE BORER! And I stood there like a dummy and watched it lay its awful little progeny in my squash patch! UGH! Now, I am beginning to see a few signs of damage. The plants are positively rampant this season, so maybe they will stand up to some damage. i can't even get in to try and cut them out. it is a struggle to pick the zukes and yellow squash before they turn into baseball bats. I dont want to use insecticide, since I enjoy the bees and other good bugs.
We garden, and we learn.
I've got these tiny little gnat-looking things in all the flowers of my cukes and squash - I'm hoping they're not there to hurt anything, but I hand-pollinated one today and taped it up with the hopes that whatever's trying to get in there will knock it off.
Well, it is nice to know I am not the only one to make that mistake. They are neat looking. I hope my cantaloupe won't fall victim. I really enjoy them fresh from the garden. Do you think they will hurt my gourd vines? I worry because you have to leave the gourd on the vine for the whole season in order to dry it for whatever craft.
Back to Zuke problems... can those small unpollinated zucchini be eaten?
Yes, I've had success with the rooting further on solution, 'though in my case the squash did it themselves -- lucky me.
Yes, my ittybitty zukes are delicious; I just don't use the yellowed ends. And I have *never* liked zukes before!
Right now I can't tell *what's* happening in the local summer cucurbita clan. I guess either we get tiny little delicacies off and on or something bigger happens. When I say tiny I mean 1 or 2 thumb joints worth of zuke!
Best advice I've had about the squash vine borer is to grow your squash EARLY and get a good crop, then pull the plants before the bugs appear.
Also, about the rotting from the bloom end, it's the weather. This has been a less-than-productive summer for crops, it seems, due to our weird spring.
Sometimes, you just have to go with Mother Nature and shake your head...next year, it'll be something else...
This is my best year for squash since Ive lived in TX. I'll I can figure is that using tulle as a row cover slowed down the SVB. It may have completely stopped them except I wasn't very good at keeping the tulle tacked down, as the plants grew. Now the plants are huge but I've never had a problem with the SVB on anything but the summer (bush squash). I'm sold on the tulle, it's cheap and you can cut it to use where ever it's needed.
Also it seems like the birds are really active and eating bugs and larvae, maybe all the rain we've had here brings up the bird numbers. Came back from vaca yesterday and had lots of weeding and tying squash vines. Found a SVB cocoon and instead of throwing it out I left it in plain sight on weed cloth. Later it was gone, couldn't hatch that quickly so it had to have been eaten. It was my encouragement to the birds to clean out the buggies. Also before vaca I noticed some squash bugs and when I returned there were none. I love my birds. Very soon I should also see the return of the assassin bugs, they usually arrive in July.
Well, I've picked a family-dinner sized crop of zukes so far, and most of them did not have the end rot. And I think it probably was my hand pollinating that did the trick. I'm in the backyard from noon to dark virtually every day, and I've never seen any bugs but the ants.
No fruit sitings of the cukes or summer-yellows yet. Blossoms though!
Well, she has plenty of other varieties of zucchini and yellow squash to choose from here. I have a No ID green zuc I bought as a seedling, yellow Buckingham Zucchini, Cavilli and Elite Zucchini, Golden Egg yellow squash. And I have a Tivolli Winter Squash.
And the winter squashing recommend: pennsylvania Dutch crookneck from bakers heirloom. Again, it seems resistant to SVB and needs a lot of room so I tie mine up on 6foot bamboo teepee.
As for how resistant the cavilli summer squash is: I think SVB has gotten to my Cavilli because the stem had some suspicious damage but I just. Mounded it up with soil and it keeps on bearing. I think the inside is not as hollow as regular zucchini. So maybe the larvae can't do as much damage. Maybe at seasons end I will slit open stem to see what's going on in there.
Cavilli it will be, then, next year! Thanks Judy, and everyone for your experiences. In the meantime I think I have to go back to artificial pollination. I haven't seen any signs of SVB, though, so I'll count myself lucky for now. I guess the ants were harmless.
Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT, EVER grow "Costa Romanesca" Zucchini. Unless, that is, you wish your garden to turn into the Little Shop of Horrors. This heritage variety grew leaves almost five feet tall, with their stems of course, and the beautiful squash are variegated shades of green, but not ready unless they are about 16 inches long. No joke. There is no turning back with this variety - it is STEROIDAL.
As big as the squash are, the plants too, there has been a lot of rot this Spring, with moderate production, methinks.
So, never again. While this was a fun experiment, I soon started to find my other veggies overwhelmed by the fierce growth of Costa. I bought the seeds through the Southern Exposure Seeds website, and can most heartily recommend this variety for those with HUGE gardens, for most of us, let it alone! LOL!
Good thing I grow veggies for my Church to pickle!
I'm growing Costata Romanesco this year. It's a sprawling mess. The stems twist and break and it can't hold it's won leaves up. Mine is nowhere near as large as you report, but I agree they are best eaten at a fairly large size.
Granted the fruits are pretty, but I think I'm going back to Black Beauty. None of the varieties I've tried in recent years has been anywhere near as reliable and capable.