Our squash is blooming like crazy, but it isn't making squash. What can we do?
Squash are cucurbits and have separate male and female flowers on the same vine. You can tell the difference between the males and females by the flower shape. When the vines are young they produce only male flowers which have straight stems. Female flowers are produced as the vines mature. They look like the petals are stuck on top of a miniature squash. Male flowers will always fall from the vine; female flowers will fall if they are not pollinated.
If you have female flowers and they are falling off, then pollination may not be happening. To play the pollinating bee take a small paint brush or cotton swab and brush it over the pollen-bearing stamens in the male flowers and then over the sticky stigma in the female flowers. Do this early in the morning. A successfully pollinated female flower will close its petals and the ovary AKA the fruit will begin to swell.
Thank you so much, Carol! My husband had noticed that we don't have many bees around. We never thought about hand pollinating. I had no idea it was so easy.
There haven't been any flowers or gardens at our house in many years. Do you think they will start coming since we are now having a garden and some flowers? We have a big bed of zinnias which I thought would attract them...
YouÂre welcome and yes I think planting flowers will attract more bees. Some bee favorites include sunflowers, goldenrods, asters or yarrow Â all from the daisy family. Bees are partial to blue, purple and yellow flowers. Perennials which are attractive to bee include hollyhocks, roses, sedum, tansy, buttercups and clematis. Some herbs are bee heaven Â lavender, catnip and mint are a must and donÂt forget bee balm.
How about a home bee hive? Here are some good sites with info for beginning beekeepers:
Beekeeping Menu - http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_beekeeping
Beekeeping Tips for Beginners - http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G7600