More Signs of Summer

Despite all the rain, the warm temperatures have been keeping all the plants growing quickly. Things are still moving forward! One plant that I’m a little bit surprised by is the ‘Honey Bun’ Cantaloupe. Remember, it is supposed to be a more compact, bush type cantaloupe that is good for small gardens. It is a few weeks old and not very big yet. It looks like it might be just starting to think about vining a little bit, but surprise! It already has flowers on it!

Now, a close inspection of the plant showed me that while there are lots and lots of flowers, they are all male flowers right now. This means that we can’t expect to see any melon for awhile yet, because the plant needs both male and female flowers to produce fruit. The same goes for the zucchini and other squash and melon plants. Just because you are seeing lots and lots of flowers doesn’t mean that you should expect a squash or melon for every flower. Only the female flowers produce. (You can tell the difference because female flowers usually have a swollen area behind the flower – a tiny baby squash or melon.) Most vines produce male flowers first, then eventually balance out to both male and female flowers.

Interestingly, our gold zucchini actually produced a female flower first, but I’m expecting that zucchini to start rotting here in the next couple of days because there were no male flowers to pollinate it. If I’d been on my game, I would have picked it on the day it bloomed for a gourmet treat!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on June 16, 2010, in Around the Garden and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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