Zucchini Problem - Knowledgebase Question

Huntington Station, NY
Question by JNME
September 22, 1999
Is there a reason why my zuccini plants had about 85-90% male flowers. As a result the zuccinis were not plentiful. This is in a resale home we bought last fall and there was grass growing in the area before this.
In the same area I also planted 4 sweet pepper (frying type) plants. 3 of the 4 did OK but the 4th produced very little.
The area gets sun until about 3:30-4:00 o'clock.
I also planted 1 beefsteak tomato plant behind the peppers and got hardly any fruit at all and they were very small.

Answer from NGA
September 22, 1999


I'm not sure about your zucchini plants but in general they begin by producing many more male flowers to ensure adequate pollination. If the plants were stressed by drought or poor fertility then production would have been low in any case. Your peppers experience might simply reflect a bum plant in the batch or it might reflect a soil problem, especially since the tomato nearby also had problems. Sun until late afternoon should be enough provided it is full sun. If there are tree roots in the area they may account for this type of problem, as could uneven soil preparation, uneven fertilizing, or even perhaps an unknown event prior to your living there. By this I am thinking of oddball things that happen such as a child's sand box had been placed there for many years, or a bit of excess fertilizer spilled there, or a bag of lime broke there one time. You might want to run some basic soil tests and see what type of results you get, just in case there is something out of balance and which amendments if any you need to be adding. Your County Extension (727-7850) should be able to help you with the tests and might be able to add a bit to this type of troubleshooting, too.

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