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Old 06-23-2015, 03:00 PM
wearefamily Female wearefamily is offline
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Default my plants all have male flowers by the dozen,

Help, for the second year in a row I have planted cucumber and zucchini and there are dozens of male flowers and maybe one or two female, I can't figure it out. I have hand pollinated a couple myself, but that won't even fill a small jar. We have moved states and in CA. I had no problem so what can I do... If I don't get some produce this year I can't put away for the winter. Has anyone had this problem? Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:41 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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i had that problem my first year at my farm, but it was also the first year the spot wasn't forested. the pollinators didn't frequent the area yet (nothing to draw them over) now there are hundreds of bumblebees and other pollinators that moved in after the land use changed.

generally these vines (pumpkin, squash, cuke) will put out male flowers first for a while to attract the attention of pollinators in the area, show them there is something there to interest them, and they start making rounds to those plants, then they start making female flowers. if you lack pollinators you can try to pollinate yourself (i picked a male flower and rubbed the pollin over the female flowers) but you won't do as well as some bees will. you can encourage bees to move in, colony collapse is affecting the honey bee but bumble bees and mason bees are safe from it and are good pollinators.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:55 PM
doc doc is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setanta View Post

generally these vines (pumpkin, squash, cuke) will put out male flowers first for a while to attract the attention of pollinators in the area, ... .

It's easy to see the survival value of that strategy...but, how do they know?
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:36 PM
Terri Terri is offline
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It's easy to see the survival value of that strategy...but, how do they know?
The flowers are yellow, and bees see yellow better than anything. Bees also have an incredible sense of smell.

As for the plants, well, the plants that do the best job getting pollinated are going to have more offspring.
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Old 06-24-2015, 01:58 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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as Terri said, the flowers are a very bright yellow, and they are fairly large, they are very easy to see when contrasted to surrounding vegetation that is mostly shades of green. the display attracts the attention of pollinators who start making regular visits to those big bright flowers, the plants make mostly male flowers for the first few weeks because they don't expect enough pollinators to show up right away.
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Old 06-24-2015, 03:56 PM
doc doc is online now
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I meant how do the plants know they are in a situation favoring the production of more male flowers?
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:07 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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they don't, the plants typically just grow male flowers first for a few weeks, whether or not they are in a place with pollinators
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:35 PM
wearefamily Female wearefamily is offline
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Right, so although I have massive beautiful yellow male flowers, when the bees or what ever is going to pollinate these flowers realizes that their harvest is going nowhere, they will hang around and set up the stage for the female flowers to start producing. Am I right? Also, because I have no other flowering plants (though I did buy some hanging baskets because I can't stand the bleakness of nothing flowering around me) it will take time for the natives to move in and I should plant all kinds of things to attract not only for this year, but next year and the following ones. My aunt gave me some marigold seeds that I planted, but nothing has flowered yet. I wonder if I should just go ahead and buy more flowering plants to get a head start. But as long as I am on the right track, I think I can handle it. Thanks all for your great input, I sure do appreciate it folks...
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:40 PM
wearefamily Female wearefamily is offline
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Right, now the female plants are coming, and i got some cucumber that I pickled,and they were yummy.And on the squash I got TWO,yes I said TWO... squash plants, mind you they were massive,but now all the female flowers that are producing squash,now they shrivel and die... what is going on??? HELP!!!!
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