more from Mike McGroarty... growing squash?

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more from Mike McGroarty... growing squash?

Post by tree68 on August 12th 2008, 7:49 pm

Why Some Summer Squash Doesn't Mature

It happens all too often. You'll see big blossoms on your summer
squash plants and tiny little squashes forming behind the
blossoms. But after a few days the blossom dries up and the
tiny squash shrivels and turns brown. Why does this happen?

There are a number of reasons why this may be occurring in your
garden. The first thing to consider is the weather. Extreme
temperatures of below 55 degrees or above 85 degrees while the
plant is flowering can affect the plant's ability to set fruit.
Squash enjoy warm weather, but not too warm!

Squash plants prefer to grow in full sunlight. If they're not
getting enough sun, the plants protest by not setting fruit.
They're also fair weather friends. If the plants are blossoming
and a heavy rain occurs, the rain can wash the pollen from the
male flowers, preventing the female flowers from being
pollinated. Likewise, never water your squash plants with an
overhead sprinkler early in the morning. Each male flower opens
for only a few hours in the morning. It's in the morning hours
that pollination is most likely to take place, and a sprinkler
can wash away the pollen.

You can help pollinate your summer squash but first you need to
know how to tell a female squash blossom from a male squash
blossom. It's easy once you know the difference. The female
blossoms will have a tiny squash forming directly behind the
blossom, while the male blossoms have just a stalk behind the
blossom. That little squash behind the female blossom is the
ovary, and if it isn't pollinated it will wither and fall off.

To pollinate your squash blossoms, go out to the garden in the
morning, before 10 a.m., armed with a cotton swab or small
paintbrush. Now locate a male flower and gather some pollen by
rubbing your swab or brush on the stamen in the center of the
flower. You'll see the yellow pollen on your swab or brush.
Then move on to a female flower and rub the pollen onto the
pistil in the center of the female blossom. Voila! You have
pollinated your squash and will be rewarded with fresh, tasty
vegetables for your dinner table.

Mike McGroarty

Posts : 390
Join date : 2008-01-17
Age : 79

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