Answer: Good questions! As a zucchini is forming, the flower petals will dry up and fall off on their own. Don't pull them off - you could injure the fruit and cause decay on the blossom end. Just allow the flower to fall off on its own. The second part of your question has to do with male flowers. They do not produce fruit but they are necessary to have on the plant because they provide the pollen that the bees transfer to the female flowers, which is necessary for the females to be able to produce a fruit. I would just leave the flowers alone. They will dry up and fall off the plant when they are no longer useful to the bees or the female flowers. To keep your plant producing, harvest the zucchini often. This will signal the plant to produce more flowers and fruit. If you leave the zucchini on the plant too long, it will begin to develop seeds. The plant will direct most of its energy into seed making rather than more flowers and fruit. So, when the squash are 4-6" long you can begin harvesting them. Eight inch long zucchini is about as large as you should allow them to grow. I've seen zucchini grow as large as a baseball bat but it doesn't have any flavor so keep those little squashes picked!
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