Today Chris takes us to San Benito Roots, his farm in Hollister, CA to breakdown Zuccurì growing. Sometimes it can be hard to gauge how your plants are doing and what to do if they need some assistance. Chris gives us tips on how to check on plant health and production and how to mitigate issues in the garden or field.
What to look for:
You can identify the difference between the male and female flower by looking at the stem. The male has a full stem with nothing underneath the flower while the female has a Zuccurì bubbling underneath the flower. Bees will carry the pollen from male to female to produce the fruit set.
Chris’s benchmark for plant health is to measure the leaves of female fruit. They should be at least 12 inches in diameter. If your leaves are at least 12 inches when first female flowers start to appear, you are on the right track.
When your plant starts developing fruit, it is pushing energy toward fruit, which means it is more susceptible to diseases and other issues. Once your flower has been pollinated and your fruit is established, you are 55 days from harvest.
What to do:
Home gardeners: You can remove female flowers if your plant petals are not at 12 inches diameter yet. This will cause them to go back into vegetative state. Then hit them with organic fertilizer and water and the plant should bounce back and establish itself better before it pushes out fruit again.
Commercial growers: Proper preparation prevents a poor performance! You really want to stay on top of watering and fertilizing from the get go because it is much harder in a large field to go through and hand pick female flowers. Midway through your field, check your females and make sure the leaves are 12 inches in diameter. Utilize water and fertilizer if your leaves are not big enough when the females start producing fruit.