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Old June 12, 2017   #1
JerryHaskins
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Default Can unpollinated squash form tiny fruit that never mature?

Can unpollinated yellow, summer crook neck squash form tiny (about 1-1/2 inch long) little squash fruit that never matures?

I am getting some little bitty squash fruit that just never matures. They get about 1-1/2 inch long and just shrivel up.

Some others actually get large enough to eat.

We don't have many bees coming around and I have never pollinated it by hand.

I read somewhere that unpollinated female squash blossoms will do that (produce fruit that never develops).

Does anybody know if that is true?

I thought that an unpollinated female blossom simply would not develop any fruit at all.

Thanks.
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Old June 12, 2017   #2
TexasTomat0
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I don't have enough pollinators around my yellow squash either. The small blossoms that have a tiny fruit on them are the female flowers, while the flowers without the small fruit are the male flower.

Each plant grows both female and male flowers.

If that female flower isn't pollinates naturally or by you taking a male flower and doing it by hand, it will eventually shrivel up and fall off. Or at least that's been my experience.


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Old June 12, 2017   #3
JerryHaskins
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So does an unpollinated female flower first produce a little baby squash before it falls off?

I didn't think that was possible, but some "experts" say it happens.

Can a female blossom be partially (but insufficiently) pollinated?
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Old June 12, 2017   #4
TexasTomat0
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The little baby squash is always there under the flower. Even if unripe it appears to make a little tiny squash. My experience with it is that they will soon shrivel up and fall off or rot.

I've been tricked many times into thinking I was about to be eating squash only to come out the next evening to find my prize shriveled and dead.

As far as partial pollination, I have no clue. These are just my anecdotal evidences.

I may be totally wrong, but I would guess that if the blossom was partially the fruit would grow, but have fewer seeds? Just a shot in the dark, because I have no evidence or experience. Someone else will have to chime in.


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Old June 13, 2017   #5
KarenO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTomat0 View Post
The little baby squash is always there under the flower. Even if unripe it appears to make a little tiny squash. My experience with it is that they will soon shrivel up and fall off or rot.

I've been tricked many times into thinking I was about to be eating squash only to come out the next evening to find my prize shriveled and dead.

As far as partial pollination, I have no clue. These are just my anecdotal evidences.

I may be totally wrong, but I would guess that if the blossom was partially the fruit would grow, but have fewer seeds? Just a shot in the dark, because I have no evidence or experience. Someone else will have to chime in.


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Agree.
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Old June 13, 2017   #6
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Well if your aren't getting fruit set you might as well eat the blossoms male and female.
Very tasty.
At least you will get something out of it.
Another option is to hand pollinate with an artist paintbrush.
Not practical in a large field but a home garden yes.
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Old June 13, 2017   #7
JerryHaskins
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Thanks everybody. Y'all are a great source of information.

I think I will try hand pollinating some and see if that improves things.

I have never hand pollinated before, but I watched 2 YouTube videos on it. One lady used a Q-tip and a guy just broke the male flower off, removed the petals and used the stamen to pollinate the female flowers.

I will try the Q-tip first.

PS: My neighbor just set up two bee hives nearby, and I had high hopes for them to take care of my squash pollination, but so far I have only seen a few bees visiting my garden.

Thanks again.
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Old June 13, 2017   #8
BigVanVader
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryHaskins View Post
So does an unpollinated female flower first produce a little baby squash before it falls off?

I didn't think that was possible, but some "experts" say it happens.

Can a female blossom be partially (but insufficiently) pollinated?
yes & yes

Typically early in the season the pollination is low b/c bees are nearing extinction. Golden Glory is a yellow zuch that exhibits parthenocarpic tendencies so you could try that. I'm planting mine this week and plan to cover to test the pollination. Otherwise hand pollination works and is easy.
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Old June 13, 2017   #9
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[QUOTE=BigVanVader;646843]yes & yes

Typically early in the season the pollination is low b/c bees are nearing extinction.

BVV - so you're saying this squash - and other similar types - are failing with increasing frequency across the board because honey bees and other pollinators are less available? Home gardens and commercial?
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Old June 13, 2017   #10
BigVanVader
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[QUOTE=ako1974;646887]
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigVanVader View Post
yes & yes

Typically early in the season the pollination is low b/c bees are nearing extinction.

BVV - so you're saying this squash - and other similar types - are failing with increasing frequency across the board because honey bees and other pollinators are less available? Home gardens and commercial?
Yes. Commercial growers either raise bees specifically to make sure they get good pollination or "rent" them as needed. Several species of bees are endangered now and populations have dropped by as much as 97% for some species of bumblebees. Most of the population of honey bees left are "farm bees" which are typically unhealthy and unsustainable because they dont get a good mixture of pollen and are exposed to more pesticides.

I have had poor pollination early season the last two years on my squash. Hardly see any bees till June here. The Zika panic last year wiped out a lot too. I'm sure big pharma was smiling about that. Spraying like that happened all over SC. The guy I got my honey from for years, all his bees dead in a day. That happened to countless beekeepers, and whats worse is the gov tried to deny it. Sometimes it seems human stupidity is the most powerful force of nature.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.fbcd5b9e33cd
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Old June 13, 2017   #11
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All your bees dead at once is definitely a pesticide kill.

As a beekeeper, I hadn't thought about this from the perspective of big ag. What I mean is, I haven't paid attention to what's available at the supermarket or farm stand, the price, etc (maybe because I'm not there nearly as often as my wife). I pay attention no doubt to what's growing in my yard. I mean, I have read about the almond dilemma, I know commercial keepers and have heard their significant issues, "every 3rd bite of food is pollinated", but I hadn't thought about I guess on a hyper-local level. Like my yard, my neighbor's, etc, what is and is not growing well, so far away from large farms.

Since I've had bees, my neighbor has stopped spraying his lawn and actually doesn't mow dandelions and clover now. One person at a time, I guess.

Thanks for the response.
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Old June 13, 2017   #12
GrowingCoastal
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Intelligent neighbour!

Here's what happens to zucchini when it is incompletely fertilized. I looked this up when I had zucs that tapered sharply toward the blossom end.

Quote:
How Zucchini Gets Its Shape

When the zucchini blossom is fully pollinated, often by multiple bee visits, the fruit's ovaries develop evenly. This even growth gives the squash its customary lean and tapered shape. When pollination is insufficient because there aren't enough beneficial insects in your garden or growing conditions stress the fruit, the fruit becomes misshapen. The ovary is the area surrounding the seeds. It thickens and enlarges to accommodate seed growth. If some of the seeds aren't pollinated, the area around those seeds doesn't grow, resulting in oddly shaped zucchinis.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/zucchin...ed-103202.html

Last edited by GrowingCoastal; June 13, 2017 at 02:26 PM. Reason: memory
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Old June 13, 2017   #13
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This happened to my yellow crooknecks last year, too. I wonder if their overcrowded conditions played a role... The zucchinis had more space and were more prolific. (There seem to be plenty of bees here, since my neighbors raise honeybees and I grow lots of pollinator-attractant plants and flowers.) I don't know if bees avoid overcrowded plants, but I've given all of the squashes some extra breathing room this year; fingers crossed!
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Old June 13, 2017   #14
JerryHaskins
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I also discovered today that if I plan to hand pollinate my squash, I must do it fairly early in the morning.

I got tied up on another project and by noon, all of the blossoms had closed up.

No problem. I'm up before daylight anyway.
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Old June 14, 2017   #15
JerryHaskins
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Well, I went to my garden prepared to hand pollinate some squash this morning.

I have 9 hills of squash with about 4 plants in each hill.

I found only 1 (yes 1) female blossom.

There were about 45 male blossoms and 4 or 5 honey bees.

I know that male squash blossoms appear first, but the females have had plenty of time to come out in mass.

A few females have come out and we have eaten some squash, but it is not plentiful like it should be by now.
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