Zucchini problem - Knowledgebase Question

Plainfield, In
Avatar for cgklingman
Question by cgklingman
June 30, 2009
My zucchini get to be about 3 inches long and look great, then the distal ends start to yellow and eventually rot. This is my 1st garden so I'm totally new at this, but I certainly was expecting them to get longer than a few inches. One of them went from being perfectly straight to being bulbous at the near end and skinny at the far end, resembling a light bulb, and yellowed at the end

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2009
What you describe sounds like blossom end rot. We normally think of this as a problem with tomatoes, but it can affect squash, too. Blossom end rot is a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of the fruit. While your soil may have adequate calcium, fluctuations in soil moisture content from dry to wet really increase the incidence of blossom end rot. It is especially bad on the early fruit each summer and in sandy soils. The damage occurs as cells die at the tip of the fruit. In time (and as the fruit grows) the spots enlarge and turn black. So, by the time you see it, the damage actually has already occurred some time back. Remedies include: having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits (mulch helps maintain soil moisture), and spraying plants with a Blossom End Rot spray (contains calcium) which can usually be purchased from your local garden center. Don't wait until you see it to spray with Blossom End Rot spray. If you have an annual problem with blossom end rot, treat when the fruit reaches marble size. However, usually the other cultural practices will control the problem without the need for spraying. The oddly shaped fruit is also a condition caused by inconsistent watering, so try adjusting your watering practices and I think you'll see an improvement in your squashes. Hope this information is helpful.

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