Gardening woes

I’ve taken up gardening more than usual this summer, and was hopeful for good results. It’s been a great way to get outside with C, to teach her about the different plants and to keep myself occupied while she digs in her sand and water table. Alas, I seem to have some variety of a black thumb, for even the simplest of plants aren’t producing results for us.

Let’s start with our zucchini. Last year, I attempted potted zucchini and only yielded one lonely squash from the plant. This year, I was determined to get some zucchini from our harvest and planted a plethora of seeds in the ground out back. I even started a few seedlings inside to ensure success. I didn’t expect the seeds outside to take, but they grew with fury, producing large and beautiful zucchini plants and leaves. Soon, we started to see blossoms, but no squash yet. We waited patiently, checking the plant every few days, and certain that our fruit would sprout while we were out of town and we’d come home to massive zucchini. I watered twice a week, and the soil seemed to be an ok moisture level. The plants were certainly thriving, so I stuck with it. Finally, I spotted our first baby zucchini! The hard work was starting to pay off! Only a few days to paydirt… we would soon be enjoying fresh zucchini from our garden. That was over a week ago, and the small zucc hasn’t grown any and is now looking a little sad. A few days ago, I attempted to pollinate the small zucchini flowers. The male flowers opened without fail, but the female buds stayed closed. I checked throughout the morning on multiple days, and it was always the same. Make flowers open, female flowers closed. Finally, I found a recommendation this morning to force the female flower open and get a little zucc hanky panky happening. I attempted it with the two female flowers we have, so now only time will tell.

To make matters worse, last night I discovered a powdery white mold on many the leaves, no doubt it had been growing for days and gone unnoticed. Turns out, it’s a pretty common fungus that infests plants this time of year, especially squash. So, I cut back all the infected leaves and sprayed the rest with a milk/water solution, as suggested by a research team online. I’m not making this stuff up, I promise! If I wasn’t posting from my phone, I would link through to the site I found that talks about the research project. I was happy to have found a natural solution for the mold, as spraying my plants with a fungicide wasn’t all that appealing to me.

Some sites online suggested the plant may be stressed. Too much shade, too much or too little water, and too many plants crowded in can all cause reduced production of female flowers (and thus, zucchini). I’m guilty of perhaps all of the offenses listed, so it’s not shocking that my plant was doomed to do nothing other than look pretty. In the meantime, I’m arming myself with squash blossom recipes in case all we end up with are male blossoms for the rest of the season.

More later… I have a whole slew of misstep stories about my potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, mint and basil. It seems that weeds are the only thing that I’m consistently successful at growing!


1 Response to “Gardening woes”

  1. 1 Laura August 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Oh my gosh, I have found a buddy that can’t grow the so called “weed” as well! You have actually been more successful that me. I couldn’t even one squash to grow. Lol.

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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