Does your zucchini look like this?
Well, the birds and the bees don’t always do…….what they are meant to, and sometimes we just need to get up close and personal with our vegetables.
This is what a male flower on a zucchini or squash plant looks like:
Notice that it is just a flower at the end of a stem, no fruit.
This is what a female zucchini flower looks like:
Notice that behind the flower are rudimentary fruits starting. If the flower isn’t pollinated, then these wither and die off as the first picture shows.
Now, for the sensitive part: What you have to do is make these flowers come together in a mating ritual that is normally assisted by the insects and small birds, but sometimes goes awry in wet or cool weather. The secret is to peel back the petals of the male flower, and dab some of the pollen onto the center parts of the female flower. The trick seems to be that sometimes there aren’t both sexes of flower on the plant at the same time, so it helps if you have more than one plant. I have successfully pollinated more than one female flower from one male. Enough said about that!!
The flowers are only open for one day, and morning seems to be the best time. You can pollinate any flower from the same species, but not between different species.
Does this feel weird? Absolutely. But is it worth it? Absolutely yes! I have been enjoying fruitful success in the summer squash department. My zucchini are delicious, and will continue to produce until later in the fall, helped perhaps by Mother Nature, and me.