All The Single Lady Blossoms & The Male Blossoms That Fall For Them

We’ve covered the fact that our gardens are essentially a botanical brothel. There is enough flower power sex going on in our yards to make Jenna Jameson blush.   But, there is one kind of plant in the vegetable garden that is like a nightclub without a cover charge, age limit and free drinks for the ladies and that is the Cucurbits (kind of like the Kardashians, but without the money and thinly veiled poor taste).

Cucurbits are a family of plants that include melons, cucumbers and squash. They produce flowers that are either male or female. And just like a nightclub (at least the straight variety) where things don’t really get going well unless you have a little bit of both the XX and XY action going on.

But, there is a reason that nightclubs have ladies’ nights (and free libations for them).  Â  Because the male of the species is a bit more motivated in the sexual area than the female. Ever go to a nightclub early in the evening?  You will look around and you will see a dozen or so over eager guys sitting around waiting for the action to begin.   Yes, the guys are losers and clueless, but there they are. Sipping drinks, eyeing the competition, perhaps sipping a bit more quickly than they should due to the need to build up some courage.   Next thing you know, the ground is littered with drunk guys about 2 minutes before the ladies make their grand entrance.

Your cucurbits are no different.  

Many male blossoms show up early.   Too early to really catch the wave of women flowers coming their way, they normally fall to the ground, spent and useless and mumbling something about an ex-girl blossom they need to call right now.

Shortly after this, all the single lady blossoms show up, the cooler, more suave male flowers saunter in, and you have a bona fide cucurbit orgy going on in your garden.   (This will explain the teeny-tiny popcorn boxes you see next to your tomato and lettuce plants.   They are just enjoying the free show.)

I think one of the most common questions I answer at my other job at this time of year is “Help! All the flowers on my squash are falling off (or are being eaten, and a spent male blossom does look like it has been bitten off).   How can I stop it?”  You can’t. You just have to wait for the pretty ladies to appear, and as we all know, we ladies like to take our time and make a fashionably late entrance.

Note:  if you are looking for something to do with your loser male blossoms, you can make a tasty treat out of them, so that they don’t get completely wasted (and start the pathetic drunk dialing).

16 thoughts on “All The Single Lady Blossoms & The Male Blossoms That Fall For Them
  1. This is hilarious and I have to send it to my daughter and God daughter. We just had a laughter filled conversation yesterday about this very subject. My daughter started by saying “Yeah, mom and her Q-tips running around the garden sexing the squash”. Then my God daughter pondering this and then finally asking “Why would you do something like that?”
    ROFL
    I explained about the over zealous male flowers and the shy female flowers sometimes needing a little assistance. Especially if I want to save seeds for future use with no cross pollination from surrounding plants.
    Wow…. nature got to love it.

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  2. I’m glad to have read this. This is the first time I have grown any squash and I thought this was what was going on (of course I have been hearing faint sounds of dance music coming from the garden) so I will quit worrying about all of those blossoms falling off.

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  3. This is such a great description for the interaction between male and female squash flowers! The male flowers on my squash flowers must be not only early, but also clueless. First, they spent a couple of weeks hanging out by themselves, waiting for the girls. Then when the female flowers finally showed up, they couldn’t get up the courage to mingle and pollinate them. I had to intervene and perform hand pollination to get my first zucchini this week, after watching a sad little female flower with its embryo zucchini shrivel up and die, completely unpollinated.

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  4. Sarah on

    Hee hee… what a great description of zucchini pollination. I’ll have to pass this one along. Thanks for the imagery! We’ve only just started getting some of both on the plants recently and have some happy little zucchini coming in. We’re still waiting on the summer squash though, lots of overeager males and no females as of yet :) However, our tomatoes are going nuts – yay!
    A fellow Clevelander

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  5. Mary on

    This is cracking me up! It is exactly what my zucchini did this year too. Finally though, the ladies showed up and we’ve had some good XXX pollination happen. Now I’m hoping the tomatoes were watching and got some ideas on how to bear some fruit themselves.

    Mary

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  6. Hilary on

    Thank you for that hilarious post! I just woke up the rest of the house laughing!

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  7. what a hoot of a post. i think that is the first time i ever read Jenna Jameson and gardening in the same paragraph :)

    we joked in my house how we have to “help” the squash and pumpkins with their pollination. a little paint brush tickle here and there definitely has helped.

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  8. Nevermind the squash, I have always wondered why the guys at the club were already 3 sheets to the wind before I ever got there!

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  9. peggy on

    yee haw, i have hope for my loser boy flowers on my zucchinis and pumpkins.

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  10. Moonbeams on

    I’ll never look at the (giant) flaccid male blossoms on my giant pink banana squash plants quite the same again!

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  11. ‘Everything I know about men I learned from my garden’ a book may be in order!

    Great post…although I will now have this overwhelming urge to cover my small children’s eyes when we walk by the squash patch on the way to the chicken yard…Kim

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  12. Oh my gosh, this explains so much! All those male blossoms blooming and just falling off the plant. The females not showing up until July and still being few and far between. The beer bottles.

    No wonder the sweet potatoes in the patch next door seem to have given up this sexual reproduction stuff altogether.

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  13. Danielle on

    Really yummy snack for those blossoms- Just take a few, wash them up and sprinkle feta or goat cheese on them Cover with another blossom quesadilla style and microwave ( or pan fry) for about 15 seconds. Hmmmmmmm

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