Q. My acorn-type squash is dying…specifically, the blossoms are falling off and/or if they do start putting on the fruit after it gets about one inch in diameter, the blossom end rots, and the fruit falls off. Otherwise, there is no indication that the plant is suffering. It is growing quite prolifically. What’s wrong, and what can I do to fix it??
A. Squash plants have two blossoms on the same plant (monoecious or one house). The female blossom is recognized by the tiny squash beginning to grow behind the flower. The male flower is recognized by the skinny stem behind the flower. Often, particularly early in the fruiting season before the bees find your plants, the female blossoms fail to get pollinated, and the plant aborts the tiny fruit.
Hand-pollinate your squash plants by taking the male flower – tearing off the petals – then going to a receptive female blossom, which is one in full flower and wide open, and also taking off a piece of the petal, then brush the pistil (the receptive part of the female, with the stamen, which pollinates it.