|Oh, the hope that the flower brings.|
I was SOOOOO excited about all of the big beautiful blooms on my zucchini plants. When the little zucchini fruits started appearing the excitement increased exponentially, only to be completely shattered a few days later when all the baby zucchini started turning yellow and shriveling up.
|poor little shriveled yellow zucchini|
Desperate to have zucchini, I Googled "shriveled yellow zucchini." I read post after post of "the zucchini are not being pollinated." I learned all about how zucchini have both male and female flowers. The males begin blooming before the females, and are attached directly to the plant. This was good information, it finally made sense why people eat zucchini blossoms, something I was not willing to do with my own zucchini blossoms in the past. The females come on a little later and the flower is attached to a little zucchini. My reading included how to pollinate the zucchini flowers with a paint brush.
|a male flower...though it's had to tell from the picture.|
At the crack of dawn, (that's when the flowers like to open) I headed out with my paint brush only to find that all of the female flowers were closed up tight. OK, not possible to have a pollination problem if it is occurring BEFORE the female is even ready to bloom.
I went back to Google and search and searched, still post after post about pollination, tales of desperate people prying the flowers open and pollinating them any way. FINALLY, I find ONE post about how the problem could be the plant is stressed, along with a list of things that would stress the plant out: lack of water, lack of nutrients, too little sun, and spaced too close together.
Confession time....I have a really difficult time thinning plants. If they have the will and the way to break out of the ground and turn their faces to the sun, who am I to pull up the extras...how do you decide who should go and who should stay...it stresses me out. So, there where two (sometimes three) zucchini plants growing all together. Eventually my desire for zucchini out weighed my guilt and I thinned out the zucchini so that there was only ONE plant every three feet or so. I cut off all of the poor littleyellow shriveled ones and waited. A week later I can happily report that it worked! We had zucchini last night for dinner...and it was yummy...and there is plenty more zucchini on the way!
|happy little female|