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mostly male flowers on my winter squash

 
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Until this year, I never paid much attention to the kind of flowers my winter squash produced because I always got a good harvest. This year I have three different winter squash patches growing (sweet potato and two volunteers) but all the flowers have been male. So far, no squash! Does anyone have any idea why this might be happening? And is there anything I can do about it?
 
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There is a general trend for the male flowers to show up first, at least by a few days to a week. If you're having atypical weather, that may have shifted it further, however, I'm growing lots of different squash this year, and I can see baby girl flowers coming, but they look at least 5 days behind the boy flowers.
 
Leigh Tate
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Thanks Jay, that's encouraging. We are having a bit "cooler" summer than usual, so that may be a factor. I'll keep an eye out for some girl flowers! (And keep my fingers crossed too).
 
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Hi Leigh,    I've been noticing too that on my several varieties of squash, pumpkin and cucumbers that the flowers are almost all male - like 95%
I've been checking every other day or so for many weeks and still only am getting mostly boys. At this rate, there won't be much left in the season to actually grow any sizable fruits if this trend keeps up.

How is your crop fairing after 3 weeks?
 
Leigh Tate
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Gerry, I hope that changes for you! Today, I found two of my squash plantings with some squash. The volunteer in another part of the garden has produced none. So the general observation that they tend to produce females later in the season seems to be true. Keep us posted!
 
Jay Angler
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It also seems to be the old saying, Location, Location, Location. Same seed 4 spots - two plants haven't coped with the local competition and I don't believe will produce anything and I'm a little surprised they haven't simply died. A third which I would have thought would be fine and a single fruit and I'm not convinced it will produce a second. Fourth location is clearly prime real-estate! It's taken of in all directions and last I counted had 5 fruits, 3 of which are already a good size. I'll swear I saw a sixth, but yesterday it was hiding when I tried a re-count.

Even so, I've often had squash that only produce 1 or 2 fruit/plant in our droughty environment - even if they produce extra female flowers, they just abort them. Always plenty of male flowers.
 
Gerry Parent
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Thank you for the responses ladies.
Last year, I had no problems....lots of squash to be had.
This year, I planted about twice as many (its a jungle out there!) and slim pickin's.
Differences from last year is hotter weather and overhead sprinklers vs hand watering at base.
Fingers crossed. Hopefully the females decide to come out and play too.
 
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I learned from last year and grew transplants for my squash this year.  I didn't have enough so I had to direct seed a few.  The difference couldn't be more stark.  The transplanted squash (butternut and spaghetti) have lots of full size fruit on them while the direct sown ones are just setting their first fruit.

I also see maybe 90% male to 10% female.  Except on my luffa squash which is 97 to 1  That one really sucks since I need to hand pollinate it and I haven't found a female flower at the right stage yet.  Looks like no luffas for me
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:I learned from last year and grew transplants for my squash this year.  I didn't have enough so I had to direct seed a few.  The difference couldn't be more stark.  The transplanted squash (butternut and spaghetti) have lots of full size fruit on them while the direct sown ones are just setting their first fruit.

Interesting observation, considering that squash is one of the types of plants that I've been told doesn't like its roots disturbed, so it's not good for transplanting. Like so many things, one's ecosystem dictates best practice! I solve the transplant issue by using 3" deep paper pots so the roots can grow right out of their pot as soon as they're in the ground. The deeper 3 inches seems to give them enough foot-room that they don't get ticked with me.

Sorry about your luffa - I think they need a greenhouse, because no one I know who's tried to grow them here has had any success. Have you considered cross pollinating with your squash? I wouldn't think a cross would affect the luffa formation, I just wouldn't save seed. Is that a compromise you can live with?
 
Mike Haasl
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I've always been told the same thing about how they don't like their roots disturbed.  Last year I got double production from the plants I transplanted.  This year it looks like that may be repeated.  An extra month of growing time sure makes a difference in my area.

I don't think luffa would cross with squash.  Maybe other gourds.  I just don't get many pollinators inside my greenhouse so it might not matter...
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:I've always been told the same thing about how they don't like their roots disturbed.  Last year I got double production from the plants I transplanted.  This year it looks like that may be repeated.  An extra month of growing time sure makes a difference in my area.

I don't think luffa would cross with squash.  Maybe other gourds.  I just don't get many pollinators inside my greenhouse so it might not matter...



What kind of pots or whatever did you start them in?  Did they stay in the containers or was it a container you could remove them from?  

I think you're right, in our climate, starting them indoors or in a greenhouse or hoop house makes a huge difference.
 
Mike Haasl
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I start them in 2.5 or 3" black plastic nursery transplant pots.  I aim to be putting them in the ground before they get too many true leaves.  I think I started them around May 1st and put them in the ground around June 4th.
 
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Squash and zucchini, unlike tomatoes, peppers, and other members of the vegetable garden, produce both male and female flowers. Pollen must be delivered from the male flower to the female flower in order to generate a fruit. These plants frequently begin by generating exclusively male blooms.
 
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