The Q&A Archives: Squash

Question: My squash have many flowers and they appear to be dying, not producing. The few squash I have are being eaten by a mysterious creature.

Answer: Early in the season squash plants put out male blossoms before they develop female blossoms. Probably the flowers that are wilting are male flowers. Look at the area behind the flowers - female blossoms have a little swelling (a potential squash) on the stem between the flower and the vine. Male flowers have a stem that's equal in diameter from the flower to the vine. Slugs and snails like to feed on tender new squash. Go out at night with a flashlight and see if you can discover who's eating your squash. You can make a trap for the critters by cutting two or three 1-inch holes in the sides of cottage cheese or margarine tubs, putting a few inches of beer in the bottom, snapping on the lids, and setting the tubs in the soil so that the holes are about an inch about the soil level. Slugs and snails will crawl in and drown. By keeping the entry ways slightly above soil level, beneficial ground beetles won't accidentally fall in and die. Squash plants will usually supply the average household with more than enough squash, so don't feel too bad about losing a few early in the season.

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