It’s the Hard Knock Life (for a Squash)

First harvest

(Re-posted from my original blog on Blogger). I picked our first harvest about a week and a half ago that included tomatoes (which we have a TON of), a jalapeno pepper, and a cucumber. The jalapeno had an incredible amount of spice – so much so that when Nate cut it up for a pasta dish just breathing in led to coughing fits. The tomatoes are incredible. You just cannot compare the taste of one to one bought at the grocery store. We’ve been including tomatoes in a few pasta dishes. I am amazed at the crispness and taste of the cucumbers from the garden. This first one I ate just sliced. There are a couple more growing so I’m planning on making a cucumber salad with some tomato, cucumber, and basil from the garden. That’s for another post though.

Sliced Tomato

The¬† photographs below display the raised garden with the 8 tomato plants. I ended up having to use taller trellises (5 ft) for the middle level because the plants were so tall that they outgrew the original trellises. But, that’s OK because I could use these for plants in our squarefoot gardens.

The photographs below show the raised tiered garden with the tomato plants and a close-up of the tomatoes ripening on one plant.

This post is dedicated to my unfortunate squash plants. Not everything grows as planned! The plants themselves look amazing: big broad leaves, green color, and flowering like crazy! You can see the plants in the photographs below. But…no fruit. I have yet to see one squash being produced from these plants. It’s insane considering gardeners, books, and online sites all claim squash to be one of the easiest plants to grow. I mean, I’ll give them that as they were easy to grow. And from seeds no less. Sadly, they have yet to bear fruit. Hence the title of this post.

There are 3 plants of each (squash and zucchini) that I started from seeds back in April – there are a couple of websites I have listed below that are very good at describing the best ways to grow squash. They were probably one of the first to sprout and grow into seedlings. The photos show how large the plants have gotten with the broad leaves and sprawling across the front third of the square foot garden. And, each plant has tons of flowers! I thought we would be up to our ears in squash. Sadly, no fruit yet. I’m very jealous of my gardening friends who have so many already!

Male flowers

So, I did a little digging (no pun intended) and the most likely culprit is the lack of pollinators. This seems silly to me because we have tons of bumble bees and honey bees; not to mention every other plant in this garden that has had flowers for a while is fruiting!

Most squash plants have a male and a female flower and bees must be present to cross pollinate the flowers. The female flowers have a tiny squash behind the petals whereas the male flowers do not. You can also attempt to hand pollinate if the bees aren’t doing their job, which apparently ours are not. I have been taking a q-tip every morning to try to pollinate the female flowers, but so far nothing has taken. It could be that all of the blossoms are male, but I am not sure if that is the case. I guess we will wait and see!

There is also the possibility that something is preventing the flowers from fully forming, so I am going to use the tips from the second website (listed below) to check out the plants.

Wilted flower

There are many squash recipes that I would love to try out, particularly casserole dishes. Until I can figure out what is going on with the squash plants I’ll have to buy from the farmer’s market. I don’t mind buying from there as we will be supporting local farmers. My favorite casserole dish includes Ritz crackers, milk, cheese, and lots of lightly steamed squash.

Squash Websites:
http://www.almanac.com/plant/squash-zucchini
http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/squash/all-about-squash-article10036.html

Advertisements

One thought on “It’s the Hard Knock Life (for a Squash)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s