my zucchini has 99 problems…

…but a female flower ain’t one.

2013-07-19 22.48.23 DSC_0363

In order to make a zucchini, the zucchini plant makes male flowers (left) and female flowers with baby zucchinis attached (right). The flowers need to get their stuff mixed up (i.e. they need to be pollinated) in order for the baby zucchini to keep growing.  I’ve only had a couple of zucchinis grow to full size, even though there seem to be plenty of pollinators flying around.  So I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands, and every morning this week I’ve gone out with Q-tips to pollinate them myself.  But there just haven’t been any female flowers!  There are lots of buds, like the one above, but none of them are ever blooming.  So this morning I tried prying apart the tightly closed female flower and spreading the male pollen inside. (Ok, I’m just going to say it – it was zucchini rape :s )

2013-07-20 00.54.30
The cucumbers are starting to do well – if you look closely you can see 2 nearly full grown cucumbers in this photo.  These vines & I fight an epic (and somewhat comic) battle every day, since it *really* wants to attach itself to the wood fence behind the trellis (or the nearby tomato plants, or random leaves, tree branches, or whatever else hangs near it).  But we are moving in 10 days, and so I really need it to detach itself from the rest of the world and be happily self-contained on its own little trellis. So far I think I’m winning, but we’ll see when I try to tear it away!

 

Cucumbers, like zucchinis, have male & female flowers, and the females come with tiny fruits that only mature if they get pollinated. (Can you imagine if humans worked this way?) The standard variety I planted has had lots of flowers for a while now.2013-07-20 00.15.35

But I also planted a “lemon” variety, which is supposed to produce tennis-ball-sized yellow cucumbers. It finally started flowering (or I finally noticed it flowering?), and for some reason it flowers in a ginormous clump! I have no idea what to make of this!2013-07-20 00.15.15

The tomato harvest continues, with a few more Purple Cherokees (and thankfully the worst of the blossom end rot seems to be done on that plant), and the first of the Purple Russian Plums. The Jaune Flamée continues to be awesome, and the cherries are all still producing like mad, especially the Sun Gold.2013-07-17 20.54.40a

I also got 2 more peppers, but again there was a little hole in each one, and this weird black stuff inside.  After the terrible bitter taste last time I didn’t even bother trying it, I just threw them out.  There are still a few more peppers, but I’m not holding out high hopes…

A fairly extensive Googling didn’t turn up any likely suspects – anyone have any idea who is eating my peppers?  2013-07-18 07.47.53

Just to not leave you with those gross pictures as your last garden thought today, here are some pics of the ripening tomatoes – some Black Krim, Sun Gold Cherries, and a Yellow Brandywine!2013-07-19 22.47.47 2013-07-19 22.49.25 2013-07-19 22.50.37

The green thumb is equable in the face of nature’s uncertainties; he moves among her mysteries without feeling the need for control or explanations or once-and-for-all solutions. To garden well is to be happy amid the babble of the objective world, untroubled by its refusal to be reduced by our ideas of it, its indomitable rankness.
~Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

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4 thoughts on “my zucchini has 99 problems…

  1. Another thought on zucchini: When the female flowers don’t pollinate we harvest the baby zucchinis beneath them. They are fabulous in a stir fry!

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