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Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Posted by gpiper21 Arizona (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 7, 09 at 23:00

I am a first time gardener and am having some problems!!

1st issue: My watermelon fruit was growing great, doubling in size everyday and then just started turning black and died. I have others on the plant and one of them is growing large and looks wonderful.

2nd issue: Yellow squash plants. They will produce a squash and then it will wither away before ripening.

3rd issue: Blooms are falling off my jalapeno and bell pepper plants so nothing is producing there.

This is growing in a SFG. My tomatoes are growing fine along with some cilantro. It is extremely hot here so I water twice a day.

Any help is appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Hi there,
The same is happening with my zucchinis. All the fruit have started to grow, seem like they will get to a pickable size and then turn black at the end and the rest withers away.

I suspected BER (blossom end rot) when it happened to the first one. I'm very suspicious now...

My tomatoes growing in the the same soil (same SFG) are doing great, too.

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

The squash/zucchini plants could have may answers. Do you see many bees around? If the flowers open and then shrivel in a few days, they may not have been adequately polinated. Or, check for insect damage. Do you have squash bugs or are there pin sized holes in the squash itself?

For the pepper, first, how established is it? Then, look at your temperatures. Peppers have a hard time setting fruit when the day and evening temperatures get too hign. My blossoms are not opening and dropping off now as well. They'll do better again for me in August.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Corner Yard

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Yep, I have been reading article after article about the bees just not populating the areas anymore. Kinda worrisome if you ask me. Where are they?? My personal opinion is the insecticides used are killing them off.

People need to realize how much we need those little devils;)

I have heard you can hand pollinate, but I have never tried it or learned how. So far, we in Idaho have no shortage of bees I have heard of, so my stuff is setting well. I sure feel for ya though; that first zuch or yellow squash is an awesome part of gardening. I just got my first beautiful zuch 2 dyas ago. Love it!!!


RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Last year I thought maybe my zuccs had BER as they looked like they were growing but then died. After doing some reading, I learned that they weren't pollinated. They were only about 3 inches long though, so not really near picking size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Yeah, that's typical of unpollinated zukes, squash, melons and cukes. They get a few inches long and then turn black on the end and rot off. Sounds like you've got all female flowers right now and the males haven't joined the party yet. Don't worry, they will! Just be on the lookout for the male flowers (the ones that don't have a tiny "baby"), and then if you're still having problems then the issue may be a lack of pollinators. (Though I highly doubt it.)

Peppers will not hold on to their flowers or babies once it gets hotter than 90 degrees. (Isn't that odd, considering it's a hot weather plant like the tomato??) Being in TN, that gave me a window of about a WEEK before it went from being too cold to too hot. Boo. But ribbit's right, the plants will stagger along until fall, and then you'll get more.

Hope this helps!

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Wow, this is very encouraging info since I'm having the same problems with my squash, zukes, and peppers. This is my first year and I'm beginning to wonder if I have a black thumb.. :o) Glad to hear that it's just a pollination issue and not another disease in my garden. Tomatoes are dealing with blight, ahghgh! Thanks for helping all!

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

Even though your area (Arizona) is very hot, twice a day is probably too often for watering, except for areas with new seeds or transplants. Here in Texas (with many days over 100 F and very little rain), we try to water deeply but less frequently - once or twice a week.

Depending on your soil mix, you may have to adjust the watering schedule. But twice a day is almost certainly too often, for any kind of soil mix.

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

I am having a lack of pollination as well, so I put out a .97$ humming bird feeder to try to attract some bees. I did this last year (not intentionally) but I had tons of bees pollinating my garden, so I thought I might try again this year...though so far all I have noticed is the ANTS! Uhg! Hope the bees find it! It has only been a couple of days though.
Hope you get some fruits/veggies!

My Garden Blog

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

We stopped putting humming bird food out because the humming birds wouldn't eat it but the ants went nuts over it. The food would go bad and get stopped up by the aunts! ewww I didnt think the bees would like it but it is mostly sugar right? I might try that even though I have maybe 3 or 4 bees that are CONSTANTLY in my garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jen's Victory Garden Blog

RE: Fruit/Veggie dying before ripening

I hand pollinate my squash, zucchini and pumpkins. Very easy.

When the female blossom is open (the one with the baby fruit behind it) pick a male blossom (no fruit and just one stamen with pollen on it) take the flower off and rub the powdery pollen over the multiple stamens of the female.

That's it.

I have a nice pumpkin growing right now. Some of mine have fallen off the vine even after doing this. Think it is the swarm of ants the set up shop all over the female blossoms when the open eating away at the plant. Either that or ber.

It's worth giving it a try.

Good Luck!


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