Understanding Zucchini / Courgette

Hi Everybody,
Please understand that this is my first year with vegetables. (And I live in the southern hemisphere, where we are just getting into summer.)
I have a pair of zucchini/ courgette plants, in the same 10-litre (2.5 gal) bucket. There have recently been a few flowers (light orange), along with several buds looking ready to bloom.
My question is... some flowers have a thin stem, but a couple of them have a thick stem, which I am thinking might be a zucchini- in-progresss? They are a couple of inches long, dark green, slightly ribbed in a length-wise direction (i.e. the long direction), and slightly fuzzy.
Is this an issue of male vs. female flowers? Should I expect these stem thingies to become vegetables? How do I see if pollination/fertillisation has happenned (there are plenty of bees, etc here)? If my gues is right, how many weeks untill I should harvest?
Thanks in advance! All of your advice and info is appreciated!
-V
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Down Under On The Bucket Farm said:

Sounds crowded in there! I should think that either water a couple of times a day or have some sort of rig to do that for you. Squash plants get big, and those big leaves pump a lot of water through them.

The thin-stemmed ones are male (pollen producers) and the thick stemmed flowers are the female flowers. The stem on the female flower is the future zucchini.

Once the female flowers open and get pollinated, it will be days (one or two) rather than weeks until harvest. Ideally, you don't want them to get any longer than your hand before picking.
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g'day v,
might be better if you only had 1 plant per container that size, but so long as you keep the water up to them they could do ok.
that is the difference between male and female flowers, as you described if you have plenty of bees around then pollination will take effect. you will most likely only know if pollination hasn't been success ful when it is too late that is when the very immature fruit goes yellow and drops off.
once pollination is complete you should be picking fruit farely quickly usually for me up here 2 to 3 days depending how big you want them i like them younger. mine get full sun.
len
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If the females don't mature to edible size you'll have to hand pollinate with a paint brush or, easier yet, just tear the male flower off and give the female flower "some action" with the male flower.
Joel K.

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