Blooms and Bugs - Knowledgebase Question

Knightdale, No
Avatar for sldvorak
Question by sldvorak
June 21, 2009
New gardner here. I have pepper plants with no blossoms, and very holey leaves. They are planted in packaged soil with Black Kow. I have squash with beautiful foliage and no squash. They bloomed and the blooms fell, but no signs of new blooms with squash. The same with the tomatoes, very few blooms. Help

Answer from NGA
June 21, 2009
Lack of blossoms on your pepper and tomato plants is either maturity or weather related. Both like warm soil and air temperatures and both need to mature before they can develop flowers. You just need to make sure they are getting adequate sunshine and warm - and just exercise a little more patience with them. Pepper plants can be subject to lots of insects but leaf feeding (although it looks unattractive) usually won't hurt the plants. Flea beetles are common, as are caterpillars, but without knowing which is making holes in the leaves, it's hard to suggest a control remedy. Try to capture a few of the pests and have them identified before you employ any control measures. That way your veggies will remain safe for consumption and you won't have to use pesticides that might harm beneficial pollinating insects.

Most squashes and cucumbers have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. So, to produce fruit, pollen from male flowers must be transferred to the female flowers. The female blossoms have what looks like a tiny squash or cucumber behind the flower. The tiny fruit is the ovary, full of eggs not yet fertilized via pollen from male flowers. Male blossoms have long-stalked stamens, each with pollen-filled anthers. Visiting bees and other types of insects provide the transfer of pollen from the male to the female blossoms. Don't worry if the earliest blooms on squash or cucumber plants fall off before they set any fruit. The male flowers of cucumbers and squash often bloom and wither before the female blossoms start appearing. So be patient with squash and cucumber plants. Eventually, most will produce both male and female flowers. Once blossoms of both sexes are opening at the same time you'll get lots of squashes.

Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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