Sunday, June 12, 2011

First Zucchini Blossom of 2011

Updated below, 6/27/2011

Ta-da! Somehow it's always a surprise to find the first zucchini blossom of the season flaring like a golden trumpet in the morning air.

This is a female flower waiting hopefully for pollination, and, indeed, there is a bee at lower left. The bee will get what it needs (nectar, if not pollen), but this first bloom of a Cocozelle seedling from Natural Gardening is all alone. Even hand pollination by a willing gardener won't work because no male flowers have opened yet and zucchini blossoms seem to last only a day. By tomorrow this proud beauty will be drooping, limp, and shriveled.

Nonetheless, the official trumpet blast has sounded (in my head) and summer has begun.

Here's a side view, with a baby zucchini ready to go. It won't grow much and won't be harvestable but it has played a role in announcing the season.

Combing through blog posts from previous years, I gathered some comparative data on zucchini plantings for the past three years:

Seedlings planted:

2009 May 10 (Green Racer)
2010 Not sure, but later than May 10 (Green Bush)
2011 May 8 (Cocozelle, Zephyr)

First blossom:

2009 June 8
2010 June 13
2011 June 12

First harvest:

2009 June 14
2010 June 21
2011 We'll see Update: 6/27/2011: First harvest occurred June 25

Empirical generalization: Get the seedlings in the ground by the second week of May, expect the first blossom by the second week of June and the first harvest by the third week of June.

The harvest can't come too soon for me because I'm down to about ten containers of this winter's green soup in the freezer. It's time for the summer version!

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