Q & A SQUASH PLANTS AND PLANT SALES, by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent

Q:  I’ve attempted to grow zucchini and crookneck squash but the plants grow fine, begin to produce fruit, then the blossoms and fruit wither. Can you offer a solution to this problem?

A:  First, be very careful with fertilization. If the plants get too much nitrogen, they’ll produce a lot of leafy green growth at the expense of fruit production.

Secondly, squash plants produce separate male and female flowers. In most cases there will be around seven male flowers for every female flower. The pollen has to be moved (usually by bees) from the male blooms to the female blooms. If this does not happen, the flowers will fall off the plant without being pollinated and you’ll get no squash. So you need to encourage bees in your garden. Many insecticides will wipe out a bee population. Be careful with any insecticide when bees are active in your garden.

Thirdly, male flowers are attached to the plant with a thin green stem. The female flower is attached to the plant with what looks like a miniature squash. It is actually a miniature squash. Knowing this will allow you to move the pollen from male flowers to female flowers mechanically. You can use a small paint brush or cotton swab and brush it around a couple of open male flowers, then brush it around in a few open female flowers. You’ll be doing what bees do — moving pollen from male flowers to female flowers.

Q:  Do you have information on an upcoming plant sale at the Destin Library?

A:  The Destin Garden Club will have a plant sale at the Destin Library 9am to 1pm on Saturday, May 18.

They will have over 200 plants for sale, all grown & donated by members & friends. Some of the plants include herbs for your kitchen and your butterfly caterpillars, succulents, Barbara Karst bougainillea, hanging baskets, begonias, agapanthus, plumeria, beach sunflowers, Aspidistra, bulbine, hydrangeas, beautyberry, Louisiana Iris, and African Iris.

They will have an expert to instruct you on the care of the plants. And you may want to tour the landscape, including the newly installed butterfly garden.

The library is located at 150 Sibert Avenue in Destin. Proceeds will go to the upkeep and new plantings at the library’s landscape.

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