Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

May/June 2018 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

My squash plants are beginning to produce squash, but the squash shrivels up and never grows or forms correctly.

It's a problem with pollination. Squash plants produce male flowers first to attract bees for pollination. After a few days or weeks, they will produce the female flowers that will become the vegetables. The female flowers are the ones that have the baby squash at the base of the stem. Cut one of the male flowers and rub it against the female flowers to ensure they'll develop. I had this problem when growing squash in a pot on the deck. The bees just never found it.


Last year, I bought a corn plant at the nursery. It grew and bloomed, but no corn. I want to grow corn this year, so what do I need to do?

Corn has to be planted in blocks of at least 4 feet by 4 feet. That's because the flowers drop their pollen and it has to fall on the silks below to pollinate all of the kernels of corn on the cob. You'll never get a crop with a single plant, or even a few. Corn is really easy to grow from seed. If all you want is a few stalks for holiday decorations, then buying a few plants from the nursery will do the trick. If you want corn, plant a whole bed.

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