Plants in the Cucurbita pepo species set separate male and female flowers and the darn things start the season by setting lots and lots of male flowers. Lots. With all these bachelor flowers hanging out together, you are never going to get any fruits.
Where the boys are
But nature knows what it’s doing. The male flowers help lure pollinating insects to the garden. When the female flowers finally put in an appearance, there’s a much better chance they will actually get pollinated and begin to form tiny zucchini or cucumbers.
But there’s one more caveat.
These flowers are only open for 1 day and they need to be pollinated multiple times, in order to set viable fruits that won’t shrivel and die on the plants. So go easy on the pesticides, if you want a harvest.
Of course, you could always take matters into your own hands and dust the pollen from a male flower onto the female stigma, but you probably have better things to do in your garden, like weeding staking, and snacking. Better to encourage those insects.
So if all you have right now is an abundance of male flowers, be patient. The girls will be there soon. In the meantime, pluck a few blooms to stuff and fry up for dinner.
Mark your calendars for August 8th – National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.