The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mostly male flowers on squash plants

Female squash flower

You're probably aware that tomatoes won't set fruits when temperatures exceed 85. But did you know that summer squash can be equally sensitive to wild weather?

Mark and I have been eating summer squash for a week or two now, and I only realized that was a fly in the ointment when I went to show off flowers to the neighbor kids. "Can you tell which ones are females?" I asked...then furrowed my brow as I realized there were almost no female flowers currently present on my plants.

Male and female squash flowers

While it's perfectly normal for squash plants to open lots of male blooms and no females as they're maturing, after that I'm used to seeing at least as many females as males. However, we've had really hot weather recently and I've only been watering plants that appear to need it (not the squash). Apparently that stressed the plants enough to make them abort most of their female fruits.

I've now added squash back into my watering rotation, and will hope that's enough to put their offspring back on our plates. I'm sure we'll be sick of squash by autumn, but for now it's a treat to harvest each ripe, yellow fruit.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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You are fortunate to live in the north where squash bugs will not decimate your plants. I just last night pulled all of my squash and zucchini plants because the bugs had arrived. And this was the latest they had ever lasted here in South Carolina; usually it was by the end of June.
Comment by Anonymous Tue Jul 10 08:41:14 2018

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