We have already eaten 5 zucchini from our garden. We have three more in the refrigerator. THey were delicious. We were excited to be eating lots more. We also have a yellow crookneck squash and a patty pan squash growing out in the front. So we were anticipating many nights of yummy sauteed or grilled vegetables and hopefully some in the freezer for the winter too.
Then tonight Nik came in from watering and said that the ones on the plant were looking strange and the leaves didn’t look so great. I went outside and was dismayed, sickened, saddened (you chose the tragic verb) to find a plant that has drastically changed since I was out there three days ago. I ended up cutting off a bunch of dead leaves and decaying baby zucchini and ripped out half of the plant.
This is the stem of the half that I left in the ground. It looks pretty awful but it’s at least in better shape than the other half. There are still healthy (at the moment) zucchini growing on it so I decided to leave it and see what happens.
This is the bottom end of the half of the plant that I pulled out. It’s basically rotted:
And these are what the decaying babies looked like. I think what they have is called blossom end rot. It’s caused by a lack of calcium when they are growing. That’s the best that I can come up with from the Internet. I guess we likely need to add some lime to the soil to fix that problem.
So, gardening experts (ahem, Mom and Aunt Zona), what in the world cause our zucchini plant to self-destruct? Have we been overwatering? It’s been really hot and dry so we’ve been watering every day (the soil has been getting relatively dry) but I’ve been reading that you should maybe not water that much. I know we’ve been guilty of watering later in the day so we’ll make sure to only water in the early morning from now on. Do you think it got some kind of insect infestation? I looked the plant over pretty carefully and the only insects I saw were tons of ants. I’m guessing that they were attracting to the dying plant so they came. But maybe they were a cause of the problem?
Also, I think we could probably just start over – pull out the whole plant and put in a new one. This one has only been growing for about 6 weeks and was already producing tons of zucchini. And we have at least 8-10 more weeks in the growing season. So would it be worth it to try again? Would it even be safe to put in a zucchini plant in the same place, not knowing what caused this problem in the first place?
I know gardening is not easy and sometimes can feel like more setbacks than successes but I’m still sad and frustrated. I just wanted everything to grow and be happy and produce lots of vegetables for us. We have tons of green tomatoes and now I’m just hoping that they get red!