Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fruit Abortion

Fruit abortion. This is a phrase I just ran into this week...and it totally caught me off guard. At the garden our beautiful crookneck squash plants have started to rot at the tips. Right where the flower meets the fruit a black and white furry mold festered. Particularly on the baby squash which I thought kind of weird. We have been spraying with an all natural fungicide, but to no avail. I decided to Google the problem and there it was...

"It could be just good old fashioned fruit abortion."

Yes, a fruit abortion. I had to read it twice. It is actually a very common place term for when the young fruit on a squash vine starts to rot. From what I understand, fruit abortion occurs when the female squash plant flowers don't get pollinated enough. We had plenty of bees around, but perhaps the heat is so intense right now they just aren't in the mood..if you know what I mean.

So I kept reading and it turns out that there is a way for me to save the plants, and that is to pollinate the female flowers myself by hand. Artificially inseminating squash is not something I really saw myself doing this summer, or ever for that matter...but perhaps that is what must be done. Although, I noticed that there seemed to be some sort of pest boring holes into the main vines. I read up on it and it seems that it is a moth of some sort that will lay its larvae in the soil where it will incubate until next I am not sure if these vines are worth saving.

Intrigued, I read more about squash and learned a few other strange things. One is that the fruit, which we eat is actually the ovary of the plant. When you really start digging into the natural world and how it all works, you learn things you may not really want to know. I mean, who really wants to think about pumpkin ovary pie?

Another yummy little tidbit of info I picked up is that squash are actually bisexual. While most plants have male plants and female plants, both with separate flowers...the squash plant has both male and female flowers on the same plant. Kinda kinky huh?

So to sum it up, I have a bisexual plant that is aborting its I choose life and artificially inseminate the squash with my bare hands? Or do I just rip the freaky plant out and pray that whatever is wrong with it does not spread to the rest of my garden? I am worried about the moth that is drilling into its stem in particular. IT could very easily spread to other beds in the garden.

I think I will go with the latter. C'est la vie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

where can i get info on eco friendly food gardens & picked unripe grocery store food?