Asphalt Garden: It’s Time to Hand-Pollinate my Zucchini

The picture above documents the most depressing harvest from my garden so far this summer. Not only that, but these three shriveled and sad baby zucchini are the only ones I’ve cut from my plant this year.

Zucchini plant with male flowers open.

Yes, once again my zucchini plant is giving me trouble. I think I’ve solved the shriveled leaf problem (lots more water has done the trick, and now the plant has lots of big green leaves), but as soon as I fix one problem, another appears. Three weeks ago I wrote, “Hopefully I’ll be sauteing up fresh zucchini next week.” HA! Sometimes I crack myself up.

There are two zucchini on my plant that might still be viable.

Although zucchini are setting and starting to grow on my plant, they are shriveling because they aren’t getting pollinated. I was worried about this problem occurring because there aren’t loads of flowering plants in my neighborhood, so there aren’t many honey bees around (after all, I am planting on a parking lot). Without somebody transferring pollen from the male flower to the female flower (with the baby zucchini attached to it) the fruit will die and fall off.

I went outside early this morning to check on my other baby zucchini. Their flowers weren’t open, which meant they had already been pollinated and would continue to grow or were already past saving and would die off. I’ll find out soon enough.

Soon this tiny flower will be ready for hand pollinating.

From now on I’ll be watching my baby zucchini very closely. When their flowers are open I’ll take a male flower and do the pollinating myself. Three weeks ago I was confident I’d be eating garden-fresh zucchini in no time. Now I’m just hoping my next harvest isn’t yellow and shriveled fruit.

For more on hand pollinating zucchini and other squash, read this great pictorial.

  • Lydia

    Any news on the baby zucchini front?

  • Lucero

    Did you get your plant to produce? Kind of looks like blossom end root to me. Let me know how it went with the hand pollinating because I am having the same problem.

    • Mark Evitt

      I never did have any success, but I’m pretty sure it ended up being a watering problem, not a pollination problem. 

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