It took a lot of time and effort to expand from this:
And I had a few setbacks — mostly because I got overly excited and started things too early. Also I had some sloppy technique in the seed starts and I had to do some replanting.
I got discouraged a time or ten and worried that our labor efforts and money spent on fencing would be for naught. But as late as it is, compared to everyone else’s gardens in the area and compared to how big my few plants were this time last year, it’s coming along one little leaf at a time. I have lots of healthy babies and lots of room for them. The goal in expanding was to grow enough food to can and freeze some.
A little seedling volunteered itself in my compost pile. So I stuck it in one of the bags and it grew into a lovely vine that I trellised to the fence.
I got really excited with all the flowers! So many spaghetti squash were coming! (Counting the proverbial chickens) I wondered what is the best way to store them? Decided that I would let them fully ripen and cure them outside until my fingernail wouldn’t pierce the skin and then store them on shelves in the basement on cardboard. Yea! Got it all figured out – – – Thanks, Google!
Then the happy hopeful flowers started dropping off with nothing to show for. What happened? But hey wait, there were a few flowers with fat little fruit behind them. These must be my squash. Ok so maybe I won’t have 17 squash that need storage, but there are five squash right here certainly.
Five plump little squash. So pretty. Huh, the flowers dropped off them too. And wait, two days later they seem a bit spongy and yellow? What is happening?! Disease! Disease, I tell you! What have I done? Was it the compost tea? Some mysterious pathogen?!
Help me, Google! What have I done wrong, my fellow gardeners?
Ah shit. Seriously? They just aren’t fertilized? Fat flowers are girls, skinny flowers are boys…..ohhhhh. Also the flowers are only open for one morning and if a bee doesn’t hop her happy ass from one to the other before noon, the opportunity is closed.
Ok. Time for some intervention.
And for a comparison, female flower three days after manual pollination vs. unfertilized and a few days older:
And six days after pollination:
Pretty awesome, I think!
However it seems like the vine is working as hard as it can to grow this single lovely squash because the budding sister flowers all wilted before maturing. The males are still blooming, but even the brand new female buds that have emerged post pollination have died.
I’m curious to see how far along mistress squash will have to be before the female flowers begin to flourish again.
She is kinda too heavy to be dangling off the top of the fence. The vine looked worrisome so I interfered further with some support hose fit for a queen.