Friday, July 19, 2013

Hand Pollination

The female blossoms on the Winter Squash are starting to open. In some years, when the first few female blooms open, there aren't any male blooms open at the same time. While this happily isn't the case this year, I am still not seeing many pollinators around. So I have resorted to hand pollination. After arriving home from work the last two nights, I have been cutting off some male blooms and using them to hand pollinate the open female blooms. This task would ideally be done by noon-time, when the pollen is fresh and plentiful. But I can only do it on weekdays after I get home. I will know within just a few short days if this was successful. If they weren't pollinated, the immature fruit will quickly turn yellow and fall off. But if I was a good stand-in for the bees, the fruit will soon swell and start to grow. Above, a "Butternut" squash and below, a "Guatemalan Blue Banana".