Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A lesson on pollianting squash, pumpkins and gourds

Male pollinator
 Some quick tips on Hand Pollinating your squash, pumpkins and gourds.

This is an every day process, as you need to find both male and female blossoms in bloom. A quick stroll around the patch lets you see who and what is ready to go.
Male pollinator's are on long and skinny stems, while the female's already have bumps of a gourd growing. ( the white blossoms are from my birdhouse gourd plant)

The Lady pollinator- do not pick!!! Note the bumps
Pollinating in action

Once you have located your male and female blossoms, pick the male off- with some stem for easy holding, and lightly bump the male and female parts together- (there is no easy way to say this!)
I do it a couple times to make sure they swap pollen.  Each male can pollinate about 3 females.

In a few days, you should have some growth on the female part.
 This process is the same for all sorts of  squash, pumpkins and gourds. It is true that you can let nature do the hard work, but when you go to all the effort of growing these plants, it never hurts to up your chances for increased bounty.
Female gourd- refuses to bloom for the camera. no pollinating today!

The male flower has a skinny long stem and a large 'pollinator'

Hope you have success too. In all honesty, I had never had the need to learn to pollinate, (although all of the giant pumpkins around are hand pollinated) and wanted to share what I learned.
 On the farm front, I have plenty of stories to tell and I forget to blog about them.
But never fear. there is always tomorrow.
I am also on facebook. Finally. still trying to iron out the kinks...
Fair winds,