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Do you have a problem with your zucchinis (or squash or pumpkin or cucumbers) being stunted and not progressing past the size of your thumb?
Perhaps they are getting to a certain size and then they just start rotting.
There are two reasons that this can occur…
The first, the most common that I have found is the fruit has not been pollinated. This will be extremely common in areas that lack bees, but also if you only have one plant and your male vs female flower ratio is off.
The plant should produce a sway of male flowers before the female flowers as a way of bringing the bees to the yard, but often some hybrid varieties will just go nuts with both flowers.
Each plant has a male and female flower, you can tell the difference as the female flower will have what looks like a tiny fruit at the end of the flower. The male flower is just a flower.
You can take matters into your own hands by doing the job of the bees and moving some of the male pollen onto the female flower (a paintbrush, cotton tip or just your fingers will do the trick). Or better yet, make sure you plant heaps of plants around that will bring in the bees.
As the fruit is growing, you can tell if it hasn’t been pollinated as the flower on the end of the fruit will shrivel and look brown. A pollinated fruit will look plump and have a bit of colour to it.
Blossom End Rot
Another reason for the rotting of the end of your fruit and not growing is Blossom End Rot, it’s common to see this in tomatoes, but it does affect the squash family as well.
Blossom End Rot isn’t a disease, it’s due to the plant’s inability to get calcium, which can be caused by a few things:
- Lack of calcium in the soil in general (restore it by adding Dolomite Lime or crushed eggshells)
- Soil PH is either too high or too low (do a PH test to check)
- Disturbed roots of the plant
- Watering inconsistency (the most likely cause)
On the odd occasion the flower becomes damaged before it opens so the pollen is no longer viable. I’ve noticed this particularly on super hot summer days (the flower basically cooks) or from bug damage – aphids or other insects that get into the flower before it’s fully formed.