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Question: 573-2711
My zucchini has been doing well. It has a lot of flowers but they are wilting. I did fertilize them. This is their first year. What is wrong? Paula, Kansas City, MO

Mort's Answer:
Melons, pumpkins and squash are all susceptible to squash bug. When the plant is about six or eight inches, the adult lays an egg inside the stem. As the plant grows,the egg turns into a larvae and eats the inside of the stem. Just as the zucchini is about to bear fruit, there is not enough energy left for the roots to supply the vegetable. You could try to rescue the plant but do not be disappointed. Use a sharp razor knife to cut the stem at about five or six inches perpendicular to the ground. Because the stem is translucent, you will be able to spot a brown or black bug inside. Carefully remove the bug with tweezers. Wrap scotch tape around the cut. Next year plant the seeds in a styrofoam cup that is two thirds full of good soil. Cut off the bottom after the seedlings are ready for outdoors. The cup should be about three inches above the soil line.

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