The Q&A Archives: Zuchinni Flowers Falling Off

Question: I have zuchinni plants in my very small vegetable garden. This is my first time planting anything, so I was excited when they grew so much so fast. Since early July they have been producing nice-sized flowers, between the 3 plants, there had to have been 10-15 flowers already. But the problem is, they keep falling off. I find them down in the soil and their stems bare. I water with a mist, and at the soil base, so it's not falling water that is causing this. My other vegetable plants...tomato and peppers are not even producing any flowers. They are huge healthy-looking plants, with nothing more than a few sparce flowers. What can I do now or what can I do differently next season?

Answer: The first ten or so flowers on a zucchini or squash or pumpkin plant are male, then the plant produces female flowers; this ensures a good ratio for pollination. Your plants should form zucchinis soon!

If you set them out late, your tomatoes and peppers may simply be immature. However, I am wondering if you may have overfertilized your plants with a bit too much nitrogen, particularly if the tomatoes and peppers are all plant and no flowers. You might wish to perform some soil tests to determine which (if any) nutrients you need to add for optimum vegetable production next year. Your County Extension can help you with the tests and interpreting them. (Their telephone number is 727-7850.)

Fall is often a good time for adding soil amendments so you might wish to do the testing now. Enjoy your garden!

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