Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

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witshbitsh
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Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby witshbitsh » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:28 am

I have 11 courgette (zuccini ) plants, all having male flower buds showing but, as yet, none has grown to full size and opened. I have already had several female flowers opened for a day and then wilted. Clearly they cannot have been pollinated by my plants and I am not aware of any gardens locally that have vegetables in them which could have supplied the pollen. There are some allotments about ¾ mile away.
I expected the flowers and small fruits to drop off but they seem to be growing and some have reached 3" long. Is this normal and am I expecting them to die too soon? Should I cut them off?

Although I've had a garden for 40 years, I'm still relatively new to growing vegetables so everything is an experiment so I'd be grateful for any advice.
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Westi
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby Westi » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:38 pm

Welcome to the forum witshbitsh! Blimey my predictive text had fun with your forum name!

Firstly you are going to have a courgette overload, but the situation is right this year at least for sharing them out with the neighbours. From my experience; the others have loads more experience then me & will be answering soon as well, but I quite often miss the male flowers as well & find them short lived, as have gone down to the plot & noted them & thought must try the stuffed flower recipes, but find them limp (or gone) when I go to harvest just a couple of hours later. I do note that the bees don't miss the opportunity as they are the ones that alerted me to them in the first place.

As it is early in the season for courgettes you could experiment & cut half off & see how the others do. If they are going to shrivel and die they will do this soon though, as I found when I have this they don't get much bigger than a few inches before they start browning & softening at the ends.

Just a hint for you - put your location on your details, not actual village just nearest town then you can focus your attention on replies from those closer to where you garden as they will have similar problems. I'm right down south Dorset & even the forum member in north Dorset has very different micro climate, but close enough to tweek any advice.
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Primrose
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby Primrose » Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:04 am

I echo Westi,s comments that once the fruiting season gets going you will have courgette overload, despite wilting flowers and your neighbours will probably be running a mile if they see you approaching bearing courgettes.
My experience is that for some reason early flowers on courgettes can often fail but once the season advances they seem to settle down. Never discovered why this happens. May be due to an uneven bee population around or inclement weather
I,d be patient with that number of pLants. You may we'll find that later flowers all settle down

As a PS I should add our first courgette was picked this morning and will ceremonially meet its fate in a Chinese stir fry this evening. The first courgette of the year is always celebrated in this household. It,s surprising how quickly that feeling of of celebration morphs Into the comment of "oh No, not anither b**g*y courgette!" And yet we still repeat the process every year ! It seems to be one of the traditions of vegetable growing.
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John
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby John » Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:07 pm

Hi W
It is in the nature of squash and courgettes to produce mainly male flowers when they first start flowering. Pollination is haphazard until the plant is established. With courgettes one way round the problem is to grow the variety Parthenon F1 as the female flowers will develop fruits without pollination. The fruits are excellent.
Hope this helps
John
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby Westi » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:32 pm

Blimey John, that is an apt post as I was going to say I checked mine today & have 3 baby courgettes but never noted any male flowers first & it is still a bit tiny to be fruiting, but it's a Parthenon.

Maybe withbitsh's is as well! Interesting to see.
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby John » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:04 pm

Hi Westi
As courgettes go Parthenon is the one against which others must be judged. Its so reliable - grows fast, fruits early and the fruits are excellent.
You've made a good choice!
Regards
John
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The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men’s lives, the hours spent fishing Assyrian tablet
What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning Werner Heisenberg
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby witshbitsh » Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:53 pm

Dear All, thank you for your replies. I apologise for the delay in responding.
Taking your advice in no particular order:
Since my post I have been getting some fully grown male flowers. Before they developed, I had 7 female flowers which have all been producing fruit, some of which we've already eaten. I'm now getting new male and female flowers at the same time so presumably normal pollination can be achieved.
I have looked for the seed packet to see what I actually bought but I can't find it, which surprised me because I normally kèp them. Rather than thinking I sowed magic seeds, I'm convinced they must have been a variety that doesn't need pollinating. To me, that sort of thing comes under 'too technical' whereas I'm in the "Bung it in and see what happens" camp. That doesn't stop me following advice, just don't expect me to understand how it works.
Regarding having an excess of courgettes, for some years I've been force feeding the neighbours with rhubarb, strawberries, loganberries and brambles, so I have experience of surplus disposal. Last year I tried growing runner beans for the first time and had enough to share. I have already re-homed two courgette plants to my husband's son and another to be delivered to my sister next week. I can think of another potential victim too. I'm growing them in builders's buckets so they're easy to move.
I had a little smile at Westi's advice to put my location, not at the sound advice itself but the words "not actual village just nearest town". I live in the City of Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, with a small garden and consequently, a smaller vegetable plot.

Thanks again All.
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Re: Courgettes: No male flowers, several female flowers

Postby Primrose » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:14 am

Witshbish. Glad your courgettes are now producing well despite your earlier anxieties. Your prolific sharing of surplus produce should put You in an advantageous reciprocal receiving position if we ever suffer a second spike of loo roll shortages!

The one advantage of plenty of courgettes plants is that you can pick them when they're really small and crisp and not have to buy the jumbo specimens which seem to be the norm in supermarket. They,re also delicious sliced raw in a tomato salad at this stage as well as other salad options.
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