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Jun 18, 2009 06:03 AM

Zucchini Questions

I've heard that zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but this is my first time with it and I have some (very) basic questions. I have a healthy-looking plant with a few flowers on it, but the blossoms just drop off their stems after a while. Is this normal (in mid-June in Virginia)? Also, I'd like to keep some of the blossoms to eat - what is the best way to harvest them, and will it keep fruit from growing?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I am glad to hear that it is easy to grow because I have 5 plants. I live in Toronto where it has been quite cold this year. I just saw one flower on one of my plants. But the plants are still so small. Is this normal? I wasn't expecting any fruit until the end of August.

    Is the appearance of this flower on such a small plant a sign that something is wrong? Or a good sign.

    1. It's my first zucchini year too! I'm in zone 10 on the west coast and I've already got 3 baby zucchini. I've had a few of the blossoms fall off and I just assumed they were spent male blossoms. I'd love to know if they are a sign of some other issue.

      1. Can't help with the blossoms falling off, but to harvest blossoms for eating, pick them just before you're ready to start prepping. Use a pair of sharp small scissors and snip out the stamens/anthers, rinse in cool/cold water, gently dry with a paper towel.

        1. The early blossoms on zucchini are all male - these will fall off without producing fruit. Later on, the plant will grow a mix of male and female blossoms, and female blossoms are the ones that will develop into fruit.

          1. lotuseedpaste has got it -- you're just seeing male blossoms right now, which is normal. Female blossoms will have a tiny little zucchini attached. This is true for all cucurbits -- squashes, cucumbers, pumpkins.

            Check the plant for the tell-tale miniature zucchini. If you don't see any, there's no reason not to harvest the male blossoms for eating. And when you do start to get male and female blossoms at the same time, you can harvest all but two or three of the male flowers. The fruit should still get pollinated by wind or insects. (You can hand pollinate, too, by picking a male blossom and rubbing its pollen on the inside of several female blossoms. I think I've heard that one male flower can pollinate up to six female flowers.)

            Best way to harvest the flowers is to do it in the morning. That's when they're open fullest. Store them in a ziploc bag in the fridge and use as soon as possible.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mudster

              Do the minature zucchini appear on the female flowers as soon as the flowers do? If not, how do you tell which are male?

              1. re: equinoise

                The miniature zucchini appear as the stem of female flowers at an early stage of bud development, well before the flower opens.