Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hand Pollination--Helping out the Bees

I have shocked my friends recently. They are amazed that I go to my garden each morning and "help" out the bees by providing mechanical or hand pollination to my zucchini crop. One friend indicated that she knew I was a type A personality and a bit of a control freak, but perhaps this activity had crossed over to a whole new level.

I disagree. Home gardeners have been hand pollinating for years. And after go to the trouble of planting a garden, watering it, weeding it, dealing with over zealous bunnies and an onslaught of powdery mildew which occurs so easily near the coast, I am sure going to try to get the most produce I can from my little green garden.

My zucchini flowers are open early morning for several hours. I take this time to identify which female flowers are blooming and selecting a few male flowers to provide the pollen. My technique involves removing the open bloom (corolla) from the male flower and brushing the anther of the stamen on the pistils of the female flower. Even then I do not reach 100% success but I have been reaping a very bountiful harvest.

My nongardening friends want to know how I know the male from female flower. I've included a few photos showing what to look for.
Female flower with view of stigma

Exterior view of female. Small unpollinated zucchini visible. If this flower is not pollinated, it will stay this small size, yellow, and whither on the plant.

Male flower (no zucchini--just stem below the flower)

1 comment:

Mahes said...

I did this for my Zucchini plant too. It sounds crazy but it's not.


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