Thursday, August 5, 2010

Giving the Pumpkins a Hand in Love...

I spent some of my Lughnasadh hand pollinating our pumpkins. I think that many folks prefer to let the bees do their jobs, and although we have had plenty to help us out, I still like to do a few myself.

For the folks who would like to give it a try and don't know how, I thought that I would share how to.

First, you need to know the difference between a male flower and a female flower.

Male flower.

Female flower

Female flower with baby pumpkin on it.

Male blossoms generally start to bloom about a week before the females do, and there is often many males for every female. A few days after you see the gentlemen blooming, look for a lady who is going to be ready.

I find that if you spend quite a bit of time in the garden, it is fairly easy to tell when the lady will be ready the day before. The morning after that is a good time to do the hand pollination {try to do it on a day that is not rainy or windy}.

When you know for sure your lady flower is ready, pick a male flower that is open and his pollen can be seen on your finger when swiped. Once you have chosen one, carefully remove the flower from the plant.

Then remove the petals to expose the stamen.

Then gently rub all parts of the lady flower's stigma with the stamen.

After a couple of days the female flower will fall off, and if all goes well the fruit will grow. :)




Bek said...

You gots the midwifery skills!

Cammie said...


Medusae said...

OH MY! *blush*

Ah do declayah! *fans self*

Well that's incredible - I'd never even thought there would be male and female flowers on a single plant. I thought it was like trees - you're either male or female.

So interesting! Thanks Laurel - making us all wiser, every time! :D

perma_culture said...

Good stuff! X^D