Monday, 2 January 2012

How to Fertilise Zucchinis

On Christmas Day I was talking with Mum about male and female zucchini flowers.  My daughter overheard and was asking what we meant.  I took her to the garden bed and showed her the difference.  She was amazed!  It's funny isn't it?   I don't even think about the miracle of male and female flowers any more so it was nice to look at the flowers through her eyes.

For others out there who may not know how to fertilise their zucchinis, the flower below is a male flower.

The centre of the flowers are very different, as are the stems of the flowers.

This is the stem of the male flower.  The female flower has a very definite little zucchini underneath it.
The centre of the flower is easy to identity as a female.
I usually fertilise by hand at the beginning of the season.  Usually you get quite a few flowers before the zucchinis start to set.  Once they get going the bees take over and you'll get more zucchinis than you know what to do with!  Hand fertilising is referred to as tickling the zucchinis.  Pick a male flower and remove the petals so the stamen is exposed.  Now literally tickle the centre of the female flower with the male.  It almost always works and within a couple of days you should have a setting zucchini.  Don't forget to keep checking it because they grow so quickly.  Within a few days they grow too big to be at their prime!  They become dry and lose their flavour.
You can see a little zucchini in the background that didn't set.  They don't grow at all if not fertilised.  Have fun tickling your zucchinis!

1 comment:

Christine said...

I love this term 'tickling the zucchinis'! I tried 'tickling' our cucumbers but the flowers are so tiny and delicate, it really is a gentle art! Great pics. :)