Spring is a fabulous time to plant your squash varieties. Growing zucchini from seeds is rather easy. Though, once you have them in the ground, it may take a little finessing to get everything you expect. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question “why aren’t my zucchini growing” here are easy tips and trick to help you grow tons of zucchini time after time!
Before you plant, be sure you give them enough space between each seedling to thrive because they will take up a lot of space with the enormous leaves.
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Male and Female Zucchini Plants
Did you know that in order to have a successful zucchini plant you need male and female plants? It’s difficult, and near impossible, to figure out which plant is going to be male and female when sowing from seeds, however if you’re buying a more mature plant to put right in the ground, you will want to take some time to inspect the plants and ensure you have a good distribution and male:female ratios.
This is why people end up with so much zucchini all summer and are begging friends and colleagues to take them! It’s because you need to grow multiple plants to ensure you have female and male representation.
The more plants, the more male flowers, the more male flowers, the more product. The more product, the more zoodles! It’ll be the end of summer and you will never ask yourself again why the zucchini isn’t growing, you’ll be asking how to slow those suckers down!
Importance of Pollination
Female zucchini plants are the ones that produce your harvest, male plants are the pollinators. The biggest contribution to a low harvest, or no harvest, is poor pollination.
In order for a plant to create the fruit, pollination between the male and female plants are a must. The way this happens is through the beautiful, edible, yellow zucchini blossoms that grow early on and throughout the plant life cycle.
You’ll want to pay attention to when they are blooming, as it is likely going to be when the temperature cools a bit, or early mornings. Once the zucchini blossoms begin to form, you’ll be able to identify which plant is male and which plant is female.
Keep in mind, often times the male buds will form earlier than female, so don’t get discouraged and think you have no female plants, give them a little bit more time.
Once you start seeding buds and flowers forming you can start inspecting. So how do you differentiate a male zucchini plant from a female zucchini plant? The first way you can tell is by looking at the stem of the blossom on the plant.
If there is a little swollen bulb at the base of the blossom, it’s female. If the stem goes directly into the blossom and is thin and straight, it’s male. The little bulb at the base of the female is where the zucchini will grow from. Another way is to look inside the blossom itself. Male plants have a center stamen, female do not.
Have blossoms for weeks and still no vegetables? I have a fun solution! This is my #1 trick to growing a TON of zucchini! First thing in the morning, when the blossoms are open, take the amazingly helpful Be the Bee pollinating tool to the garden and identify the male plants.
While the blossom is open on the male plant, take your pollinator and gently vibrate some pollen out of the blossom from the stamen. Then, find your female plant and vibrate the pollen from the male plant on the open blossoms of the female plant.
Typically, this will happen naturally through butterflies and bees, but if they aren’t around, you’ll have to do it yourself! It’s super simple and will help yield a large harvest! Be sure to approach each bud on the plants and I promise you will start seeing vegetables in no time!
Abundance of Riches: The Blessing and Curse
If you find you have an overabundance of zucchini and want to slow down production, start plucking the male blossoms. There will be less male pollen to spread to the female plants so you will see a reduction in production.
While you have the freshly picked zucchini blossoms, take a look around for some fabulous ricotta stuffed, fried, zucchini blossom recipes. They are absolutely delicious and are often presented as an elegant, simple, and refined dish.
Try creating a new pasta sauce based from zucchini, I have a wonderful recipe that is always a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!