Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mid-July Squash Tour

It's mid-July and I still feel like we haven't really had a real summer. This week we've had more of the same cool weather. The highs have been in the 70's (sometimes barely). Yesterday the high reached a whopping 77 but it was overcast and we had rain again.

My summer (and winter) squash have yet to produce a crop. Last year I lost all of my squash plants to either the terrible heavy spring rains or the powdery mildew that followed. I had a dismal squash crop. This year, I have healthy plants but they are still small and have yet to produce fruit. I'm not sure if the plants are small because of the weather or my icky clay soil or maybe a combination of both.

My Kabocha (winter) squash is slowly coming along. I think it's planted in a bad area of my yard where it only gets partial sun. It's also in the ground and the clay soil is less than optimal. There have been a few male flowers opening on the plant so I know it's still alive. Today I spotted the first female flower so I'm very excited. I just hope the flower opens while the male flowers are still blooming. Timing is everything!
Here's the summer squash patch. As you can see, the plants are still small but they are producing flowers. It's been only male flowers for a few weeks now.

I have 3 varieties of summer squash growing here with 2 plants of each (just in case). The first is Black Beauty Zucchini. In the past, this variety has grown well for me and has been abundant with fruit. I'll just have to cross my fingers that this year will turn out to be a good year. There were a ton of male flowers on these plants so far.
Today I spotted the first female on it.

The second plant is a Clarinette Lebanese Squash. I love the leaves on this variety. It also has been producing only male flowers.
The first of the female flowers opened today so I hand pollinated to ensure a squash. I have to make every fruit count!!

Lastly, here are the Pattison Golden Scallop Squash. I bought these seeds because of how unusual and pretty they looked. It's a golden patty pan type with scalloped edges. This variety has been the slowest grower out of all the squash plants. This one is just producing male flowers. I'm really excited to see what this squash looks (and tastes) like!

What say you Pacific NW gardeners? I'm interested to hear how your squash plants are coming along? I'm not sure if mine are slow growing because of weather, yucky clay soil conditions or the fact that I planted 2 of each plant so close together (to make sure I got at least one plant of each to survive). Are your plants already producing fruit? I should add that all of these were from homegrown seeds. Gardeners in other regions, what squash varieties are you growing? I'll always on the lookout for a tried a true variety.

I'm trying to be patient but seeing zucchini in the stores makes me crave them even more! I'm sure that once these plants take off, they'll be fruit galore. Until then, I'll keep babying my plants!


p3chandan said...

Ive given up on my squash/pumpkin patch and today Ive pulled all of them out but in the meantime have already sown new ones. They gave me lots of male flowers and female ones too but not at the same time! Though locally we eat their young shoots with the squash in a coconut milk dish...sweet and creamy!

Thomas said...

It's been a strange summer for us as well. We're still waiting on our first ripe slicing tomato.

I've been hand pollinating my summer and winter squash. The only aggravating part is that my winter squash doesn't seem to want to produce male and female flowers on the same day.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh your squash looks great! We have a few ready to pick but the leaves on some of our plants are not looking that great.

smedette said...

My squash died a horrific death in a hail storm... I'm trying to decide if I want to give it another go with some winter squash.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Your squash look healthy Holly. Ours never does. Hope you get your first squash harvest soon.

Amy@mad.amyt said...

they are looking good, do you ever eat the blossoms? or can you?

Sherry said...

Your squash plants look healthy. I hope your get your squashes soon. Ours had a bunch of males flowers first, too. Then more female flowers appeared a week or so later.

We planted a Japanese type winter squash (Delica), and just harvested our first squash the other day. We started ours from seeds and planted out fairly early though. For summer squash, we have patty pans. I really like them. I hope you will, too.

Btw, if you squash seeds were saved from last year, and you had different varieties of squashes growing in close proximity, you might get "surprise" squashes this year. Squashes cross pollinate easily.

Annie's Granny said...

Yours are larger than mine, and I have no blossoms yet. I do have a few male blossoms on an unknown (I forgot to mark it) squash that may or may not be a white pattypan. Last year I was picking yellow crooknecks and zukes every day by this time in July.

Lynn said...

I live in Dayton Ohio and so far it looks like my zucchini is a no show, I have a few spaghetti squash, but something scratched up 2 out of the 3 of them and I have one pumpkin so far (at least that is all I can find in my jungle of vines. lol!!!) Your plants look great!

Mac said...

I have been hand pollinating squashes quite a bit this year, the male and female flowers don't open on the same day until the weather really heats up, go figure.

~Holly~ said...

p3chandan: I know what you mean. I had lots of male flowers. The females are just coming into play. I think squash teaches one patience. =0) Your dish with the coconut milk sounds yummy!

thomas: I hear you about the male and female flowers not opening on the same day. Since we're off to a late start, I've been trying to get out and hand pollinate the squash too! I missed a couple this week but I'll cross my fingers that the bugs did their job.

alicia: Thanks! I hope your plants do well this season!

smedette: Oh no!! I hope you tried again with another plant!

MKG: Thank you! I think I'll be able to harvest my first squash this week! Yeah!

amy: The blossoms are edible but in the beginning there were only a few so I didn't both picking them.

sherry: Thanks for the tips. I think all the seeds I planted this year were commercial. Good to know about saving seeds though!

annie's granny: Last year I had an awful season with squash. Most of my plants died with our wet spring and those that survived succummed to powdery mildew. I hope your plants cooperate!

lynn: congrats on the winter squash plants! I only have 1 winter squash. I hope I get something from that plant!

mac: I didn't want to take any chances so I've been trying to hand pollinate when I can. I hope it works out! =0)