What's wrong with my squash plant?

We planted a crookneck squash this year, which is growing like gangbusters. Problem: none of the flowers are turning into squashlings. There was one, but it’s not getting bigger, and in fact is looking rather dessicated at this point. The plant gets lots of water. What’s the problem here?

insect pollination maybe didn’t occur and you didn’t hand pollinate.

you pick that squash while skin is still soft during summer.

Do the flowers have little squashling shapes behind them? How long has the blooming been going on? Frequently the first blooms are male.

Could it be the heartbreak of vine stem borers? Does the stem have holes?

This is a very painful subject to me. :frowning: I’m a squash failure. Who can’t grow zucchini successfully?! (Sob)

It’s been blooming for quite some time. I know next to nothing about growing them, but will check for holes. On the other hand, we have two giant pickling cucumbers and about a billion cherry tomatoes.

I had a similar problem with butternut squash last year. Turns out I should have been hand pollinating. Clearly the bees were being lazy as from dozens of flowers I ended up with one measly squash.

I got about 4-5 crooknecks earlier this year but I think I just picked my last one. I have a couple blooms on the plant but I really dont think they will produce. Had a few starting but they started shrivelling up Monday or Tuesday.

Did you get powdery mildew? I did, and my mom (the gardening queen) did also, it is really bad around the Portland area this year.

Is there lots of frass present (usually towards root-end of above-ground growth). Its basically the poop/crap from the bug that hatched on the vine. The ‘worms’ live in the vine itself and move up and down the inside eating away at the fresh tissues. Often the outer part of vines appear more-or-less healthy for awhile, but the vine is doomed unless you find the worm and pull it out (or destroy it physically/chemically). It is not too hard to figure out where the worm is if the frass is removed (scraping and/or digging out by scissors, etc). I have had squash get the productivity back once the worm was killed, too, so if/when ya find a vine with frass, its not an automatic death sentence.

I’ve had numerous types of ‘squash’ fail to grow-to-maturity. Lots of bees, lots of the tiny bulges at flower base indicating pollination was ‘positive’ - but the wasp laid its egg upon the vine despite the collars and other preventives. None of the frassy vines made healthy squash; nothing ever went past the little swellings of the fert’d flower/ovary (forgive me lack of technical names, coffeemaker slow this morning).

It is possible that there is a nutrient shortage in soil that keeps vine from being productive, but if rest of vine is thriving, then there should be some productivity (imho). It is possible that certain key nutrients’ absence are urging vine to shed growths for other structures, but will plead ignorance on which nutrient, etc. Trees will shed leaves/nuts/fruits during stressed times, and I am only saying of possibility of output being bad when vine roots only absorb inadequate nutrition.

Well hell: we went out to take a closer look today (been gone for a week) and behold, there are some squashy looking growths at the bases of the new flowers. Perhaps we’ll get some produce after all. Maybe they heard my wife’s dark mutterings this morning about yanking the plant out. Our two giant pickling cukes have become five in our absence, and the cherry tomatoes are more like golf ball tomatoes now.

The first baby squash on a vine often seems to fertilise normally, then just sits there for a bit getting your hopes up but not getting any bigger, before dropping off.

I don’t know why- all three of my plants this year grew one dud one as a first try, then have grown proper big squish on the second attempt (though I doubt I’ll get more than 1 decent one per plant, due to the appalling lack of sun we’ve had this year :frowning: ).

sounds like its not fertilizing properly, is a common problem with pumpkins.

Follow up question: how does one manually pollinate? Keep it clean, folks.

artist’s painbrush, get pollen from male flower (no squashling behind it) brush it on female flowers. Singing “Let’s Get it On” optional but highly recommeded.

Alternatively, remove a male flower, rip or cut all the petally bits off, and directly rub the anthers on the stigma. Possibly a more reliable technique, but only if you have male flowers to spare.

Makes me feel quite dirty. . .though we all do sometimes. Bonus if you know the reference.

I wanna be a cowboy?


Huh, I’ve had nothing but squash failure for years, other years it has clearly been slug invasions.
This year plenty of flowers, no obvious slugs, but no squash, didn’t try hand pollination.

Now odd developments.
I bought an eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash.

Finally one squash developed into a pyramid shaped ribbed squash nothing like the 3 things I bought. Did see something like it at a farmers market. So we ate it yesterday.

Another vine now has 3 bowling pin shaped, ribbed, bumpy, odd shade of gray squashes, that don’t say ‘eat me’ to me. Ornamental? Odd hybrid still edible?
Really, that color is strange. Colour Out of Space strange.

Perplexed. Not a major gardener, but any other plants I dragged home from the garden place turned into what I was expecting.

its best to hand pollinate in the morning apparently

This reminds of a homework assignment I got in Stats class in college. The professor wanted to do a simulation, the long way w/o computers.

We called it Hand Stimulation. And got many sophomoric chuckles.