Boy/Girl Flowers and Cabbage? please?

ladybugsmom192(9)July 21, 2010

hi ya,

so i wake up and find that green cabbage caterpillars have eaten nearly half the heads of my beautiful cabbages. at this point should i just pull them out and start over?? i'm heart broken.

as far as my zukes (in another bed), well my boy flowers don't come up at the same time as my girl flowers, and their supposed to, right? so they can get pollinated? i think that's why i'm having such a sucky yield. i planted 4 plants on may 12 (2 yellow straight neck and 2 green), and i've only harvested 6 total - 2 that weren't edible due to yellowing at the blossom end, and the other 4 were fine, just less than 4 inches long and less than half inch round. i'm pretty sure it's not BER as i have tomatoes, peppers, and green beans in the same bed and all are doing great.

so what do you think?


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davissue_zone9(z9 Sunset 14)

I told you so about the brassicas! (Sorry, couldn't resist). You are probably not getting sufficient pollination (you've probably read about the honeybee crisis) on your squash, they need a fair amount of pollen to be delivered, or they will stall out before getting big enough to eat. You can hand pollinate if you feel sufficiently motivated

Here is a link that might be useful: hand pollination of squash

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:07PM
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@davissue - LOL!!! yes, you did - dag-gumit! lol! don't you just hate dumb newbies, lol?!? so should i just pull 'em out now and start over? honestly, there's not much left - literally half of one of the heads is GONE! the broccoli's done well actually; i've got 6 plants, i've harvested 3 heads (on the smallish side due to learning curve) with two more almost ready, and most have side shoots coming. only one plant that's done nothing but grow like a weed, think the caterpillars got to it before i realized what was going on.

i do know about hand pollination, and been waiting for my chance, but my issue is that i can't seem to get both flowers up at the same time to be able to. however, i got up this morning and what do ya know? - a handsome little boy and a pretty little girl! so of course i got busy and quick!


- can i break open the other flowers that haven't opened yet so i can pollinate? my instinct says no.
- should i just pull the cabbage and start over? if so, when's the best time for our area (since you're up the road and we've got similar weather)?
- and does the same go for broccoli too?

thanks so much davissue and i'm glad i could provide you with an "i told ya so" moment, we all need that a few times a week, lol!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 1:52PM
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davissue_zone9(z9 Sunset 14)

No, leave the unopened flowers alone. If I'm remembering right from my veg crops class (from thirty years ago), you can refrigerate the pollen flower, and use it the next day on another open female flower. I've read it's best to pollinate squash early in the morning, soon after the flowers open.

As to the brassica's, it's actually close to the time to start them from seed- around August 1, to get a late fall crop. Or you can buy plants in about a month to set out. Still, you will need to be hyper-vigilant to keep cabbage butterflies from laying eggs on the plants. Supposedly you can buy lightweight floating row cover fabric from nurseries to protect the plants from insects, but I wonder it the cost is worth it for as little as you plant, you don't want to wind up with 5 dollar a head cabbage! To be honest, I gave up on trying to grow them long ago, it was too much trouble. If it wasn't worms, it was aphids, sigh.

Do you like snap or sugar peas? they get planted about mid September, after the last hot spell of summer, and are foolproof once they get a few inches tall, so snails cant eat them in one gulp. Beets, chard, potatoes, onions, garlic and lettuce tend to be easy. Carrots need sandy soil to do well, and radishes in the home garden usually wind up too hot to eat, but they're fun to grow.

Still, don't be afraid to do what you want, and see what happens, it's the best way to learn.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 6:58PM
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hey sue,

thanks i really appreciate your input. i'm one of those stubborn "i'm gonna do it til i get it right" kind of knucklehead, so i'm gonna try it again. yes, broccoli and cabbage has been hard, but dear hubby and daughter (ladybug) and i sat down to dinner and ate my broccoli - MY beloved broccoli - and it felt fantastic!

well, i guess i'll get to pulling in the morning...sigh. now i've got to figure out where to get some good cabbage seeds from, but my instinct tells me to just wait and do seedlings again. and no, i don't want a $5 head of cabbage, lol!

regarding the zukes.... so i guess i just have to be hopeful that i get a few at the same time, and be quick to catch them.

thanks again my friend :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:37AM
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davissue_zone9(z9 Sunset 14)

You might like this chart for figuring out when to plant. I took this man's classes way back when, and he seemed very knowledgeable. Veggie gardening was his hobby, he was a botanist specializing in weeds at the time. It's timed for the central valley, but shouldn't be too different for coastal northern Cal. Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: vegetable planting guide

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 3:41PM
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thanks again sue!

the fog has burned off and it's a beautiful day - hope you're having one too :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 7:13PM
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