Stunted zucchini in Orange County, CA - Knowledgebase Question

Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca
Question by hmhardaway
July 6, 2010
I have a small veg garden with tomatoes, squash and zucchini. The tomatoes are doing well but my limited squash and zucchini fruit seem to stop growing at a length of about 3-4 inches. What may be causing this and what may I do? Thank you!


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Answer from NGA
July 6, 2010

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Squash can be affected by blossom end rot, where the blossom end of the squash turns black and rots. It is more often noticed on tomatoes. The cause is lack of calcium in the soil and more commonly uneven soil moisture levels. Watering correctly should stop the blossom end rot (Over watering and under watering can both cause drooping or wilting due to root damage.) Your goal in watering is to keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. There is no set schedule for watering, it depends on your soil type and on the weather. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it to the soil surface and water thoroughly and slowly so it soaks down to the deeper roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water soaked in; it can be surprising. Using an organic mulch several inches thick over the root area will help reduce watering needs as well as feed the soil gradually as it breaks down over time. You may also want to check the soil pH. If the soil is too acidic, lime would be used to raise the pH; lime will help supplement the calcium in the soil.

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