Yard and Garden: Growing Successful Summer Squash
My summer squash are flowering heavily, but aren’t producing many fruit. Why?
Poor weather and the use of insecticides can also affect fruit set on vine crops. Cold, rainy weather during bloom reduces bee activity. Fewer bees visiting the garden results in poor pollination and poor fruit set. Apply insecticides in the garden only when necessary to avoid harming bees and other pollinators.
The fruit on my summer squash begin to grow, but quickly turn brown and rot. Why?
For squash fruit to develop fully, bees and other pollinators must transport pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. If the female flowers aren’t pollinated properly, the fruit will begin to grow and then suddenly shrivel up and die. Bees and other pollinators are less active in rainy weather. Rainy weather could be responsible for poor pollination and rotting of the small fruit. Drier weather conditions should increase pollinator activity. To prevent the destruction of honey bees and other pollinators, avoid spraying plants with insecticides during bloom. If spraying during bloom is necessary, apply insecticides late in the evening when the honey bees have quit foraging for the day.
Blossom-end rot is a physiological disorder that occurs on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and summer squash. On zucchini and other summer squash, the blossom end of the fruit begins to rot and within a short time the entire fruit has rotted. Blossom-end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit. In most cases, there is no need to apply calcium to the soil. Try to maintain an even moisture supply by watering once a week during dry weather. Also, do not over-fertilize plants. Uneven moisture supplies and excessive nitrogen inhibit calcium uptake.
When should I harvest my summer squash?
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