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Hand Pollinating Zucchini Plants

Question:

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.

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Hardiness Zone: 6a

Ray from Pittsburgh, PA

Answer:

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.

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To get a successful zucchini crop, you're going to have to pollinate the fruit yourself.

Hand Pollinating Zucchini

  1. 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.

  2. Pull off the male flower and pull the petals back to expose the pollen-laden stamen.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Good Luck!
Ellen

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July 17, 20170 found this helpful

thank this information, but i have tried and the tree never bore

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