I have two beautiful zucchini plants that seem to be quite healthy. However, after the blooms fall off and squash begins to grow they grow to about 1 inch or so and then very easily fall right off the stem. Even just a breezy light touch will cause this to happen. I don't know what I'm doing wrong to cause them to be so delicate. Any tips on how to stop this from happening? Much appreciated.
Selina from Granite Falls, WA
Oh where oh where have all the bees gone? There are two reasons zucchini set fruit and then fail to deliver-poor pollination and calcium deficiencies (blossom end rot). Let's take them one at a time.
First, let's talk about poor pollination. When this happens you may see few fruits, no fruits, deformed fruits or those that appear to set, but then only grow a few inches before falling off of the vine.
Have you noticed a difference in your bee population? It seems to me that more and more people are encountering pollination problems. Bees are extremely sensitive to all types of chemicals, so if you're using pesticides or herbicides on your yard or garden, you may be inadvertently affecting your bee population. Even if you don't use chemicals, your neighbors might be using them.
Your bee population may have also been temporarily reduced as a result of some type of natural blight like mites. In the future, you might want to take over for the bees and hand pollinate your zucchini. To do this, simply remove or peel back the petals from the male flower and rub the pollen from the stamen onto the stigma of the female flowers. You can also transfer the pollen with a small paintbrush or cotton swab. The female flowers are the flowers that have the little bulge at the base of the petals. That bulge is your future zucchini.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.
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