The Q&A Archives: Zucchini & Squash Fail To Grow

Question: Since I moved to coast of Long Island, where my garden is part of the beach and receives at least 12 hours of hot, direct sun & afternoon wind, I have not had any success growing Zucchini or summer squash. The plants have not grown taller than 2 feet, even when staked, and although flowers appear, they do not fruit. the conditions of my garden are almost xeriscape-like, but I have a deep, drip-irrigation system. I have tried each summer of the past 3 years with no success, but am able to grow peppers, tomatoes, eggplant easily. Can you help?

Answer: Based on your description, I would suggest a wind break might help. This would reduce the wind-related water stress on these relatively larger-leafed plants and would also provide better conditions for pollination to occur. These plants are pollinated by insects, so you might also make sure that any row covers are removed periodically and that you are not spraying insecticides that would interfere. You might also try using a paintbrush to pollinate. Finally, although these plants are heavy feeders, be careful not to oversupply them with nitrogen as this can contribute to excess foliage growth at the expense of flowers. I hope this helps you troubleshoot the problem.

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