Thursday, June 13, 2013

Squash blossoms are from Mars AND Venus

The squash row in my garden

In the back of the garden, against the neighbor's wall, I have spaghetti squash, crookneck squash, and black beauty zucchini.  I am a complete novice when it comes to squash.  I've grown pumpkins and gourds before, but never squash. 

A while back, I was concerned about my squash blossoms.  The plants were healthy and growing like crazy, and they'd produce these gorgeous orange blossoms, but then the blossoms would just wither and die.  They'd fall right off, and I wasn't seeing any little squashes anywhere.  I felt terrible for the little guys...  What was I doing wrong? 

 As it turns out, I wasn't doing anything wrong at all.  A few minutes on Google had me learning a lot about squash.  There's always the people to who jump to conclusions  - - diseases, pests, not enough fertilizer...  and there are the people who actually know what they are talking about...  I like to listen to them.
Turns out, squashes have male and female blossoms.  The male blossoms fertilize the females (this is sounding a bit like 5th grade health class, isn't it?), and the females produce the fruit. 
I felt much better knowing this.  I wondered how many others were worried about their plants unnecessarily.  I started looking closely over the next week or so, and was pleased to see some little zucchini beginning to form on the female blossoms.  There's a difference in the look of the blossoms too.  Males have a thinner stem, and females have a thicker stem, even before they've bloomed.  Have a look:

  Once you know what to look for, there really is quite a difference.  I love going out into the garden in the cool mornings and seeing all of the blooms.  They are so lovely.  The color is bright and they just cheer me. 
I'm looking forward to all of the possibilities!!!   I have a whole recipe file just bursting with zucchini recipes:  stuffed zucchini parmesan; zucchini-beef casserole; green chile zucchini rice; zucchini bread; even zucchini whoopee pies!!  If you want any of these recipes, leave your email address in the comments and which recipe you want, and I'll send it to you!  If you have a great zucchini or squash recipe, put it in the comments, or email it to me at!


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