My problem is with my zucchini, I grow it in containers on my sun deck where I have had great success with tomatoes in the past so I thought I would try some zucchini this year along with the tomatoes. To this date, they are doing great except that some of the fruit seems to be rotting on the vine. We have been having a lot of rain the past few days (approx. 4 inches). I thought about spraying with a mixture of antibacterial soap and peroxide. Any suggestions? Thanks for your sudden response.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
Ray from Pittsburgh, PA
Spraying an antibacterial soap isn't necessary until your seeing signs of disease. From what you wrote, it sounds like the leaves and vines on your zucchini are fine (no signs of disease or insect problems), and it's just the fruit rotting on the vine that is the problem. Since your getting fruits, you must be getting flowers. This tells me you're probably just having pollination problems. Is the zucchini rotting from the blossom ends? When young fruit on healthy plants begin to rot from the blossom end, they are usually not getting pollinated properly. This can be due to a lack of bees in the area, or in your case, as a result of adverse weather conditions that may be keeping the bees away.
To get a successful zucchini crop, you're going to have to pollinate the fruit yourself. Pull off the male flower and pull the petals back to expose the pollen-laden stamen. Then carefully rub the male flower on the center stigma of the female flower making sure that the pollen makes good contact. The female flowers have a distinct enlargement directly behind their petals (this is actually the immature zucchini), while the male flowers are often smaller and attached to the vine by just a long, slender stem.Another method is to use a cotton swab to transfer the pollen between flowers. This way is more efficient because you can pollinate up to three female flowers with the pollen from one male. If the rot is starting on the underside of the fruit where it's coming into contact with wet soil, raise the zucchini off the ground with a sling made from pantyhose or prop them up using a tin can or small plastic container to keep them off the soil.
This is a common problem in climates where there are not enough bees to pollinate the plants. You may have the zucchini in an area where the bees don't bother with it. When the flowers are not cross-pollinated, the zucchini grows but rots at about 4-5 inches long. If you can, take a Q-tip and rub some pollen from one flower to the next when they first open up. Do this several times and the zucchini should then grow properly! (06/30/2006)
Maybe your plants don't have room to grow out like they would in a regular garden, or maybe you've got your soil too wet. We tried the gardening in a bucket a few years back, it was bad. We gave up on the whole idea. The desert winds burnt up our regular garden, this year. (07/02/2006)
I am having the same problem and I live in Chester, WV which is not far from Pittsburgh. I want to agree with the weather issue because I have a good size garden and I am only having a problem with the zucchini. I had the same problem last year. I will try the pollination suggestion. If all else fails I pick the blossoms and dip them egg and seasoned flour and fry them or grill them. They are delicious! (07/08/2007)
The flowers on the zucchini plant only open in the morning. So if you want to pollinate them yourself you have to do it first thing in the morning. (07/28/2008)
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