Vine crops produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant, yet only the female flower will produce a squash or cucumber. So, how do you tell the flowers apart?

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What? No Squash?

Rebecca McMahon,Kansas State University Research and Extension horticulture agent in Sedgwick County, Kansas, offers the following garden tips:

Home gardeners often choose easy-to-grow squash and cucumbers, yet call the Extension office early in the summer to ask why squash plants have “tons of flowers, but no squash.”

Usually, it’s just a mater of time.

Vine crops, such as squash and cucumbers, produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant.

When they start blooming in the spring or early summer, usually they’re putting on male flowers, rather than the female flowers that produce the fruit.

To tell the difference between male and female flowers, bend or squat down to get a good look at the flowers:

A female flower will have a swollen, miniature fruit (a tiny squash or cucumber, for example) behind the flower.

A male flower has straight stem and no fruit.

A female flower with the cucumber behind it has already been pollinated, and, in about a week, it will be a cucumber ready to eat.

If only seeing male flowers, be patient. Soon, you’ll have female flowers and more cucumbers and squash than you’ll know what to do with.

For more information, visit your local Extension Office, or visit our website.

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