Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Be the Bee

Male flower
This past spring my pine trees and many others around the area were covered in hard working honeybees that belong to commercial keepers.  However, since about mid July or so I've notice very little honeybee activity on any flower around my property, well other than the Sweet Clover.  In the garden only a few bumble bees working the tomato plants, but no bees in my pumpkin patch.  And as we all know, no pollinators, no pumpkin or other fruits and vegetables for the that matter!
Female flower

By August 1st, I should have pumpkin of many sizes growing on the vine, but not a one.  So, I started pollinating the pumpkins myself and with the promise of a warm September I should get a few pumpkins. Here is how to be the Bee!

Make sure you have both a female and male flowers freshly opened.  Best time to check is early morning, as they close by mid morning! The pumpkin will always produce more male than female flowers.  Sounds familiar! Now, cut or pinch off one of the male flowers at the stem from a different vine if possible.  Peel off the yellow pedals and stuff them into your mouth for breakfast.  You are now left with the stem and stamen.
Ready to go!

Relocate the female flower and gentle rub the stamen around the stigma of the female flower.  Again, sounding familiar!  That's all there is too it! Checking back in a day or two, one should see the developing pumpkin.

I leave the Stamen next to the female flower to mark the deed has been done!

Unopened female flower

You can always tell days prior to the flower opening up which is a female flower and which is not.  A female flower will have a bulge between the flower blossom and the stem. The female flower will also be closer to the vine.  Where as the male flowers will stand tall above the vine.   Once pollination has taken place, the bulge is the new pumpkin.  If pollination doesn't take place, the bulge will yellow and fall off the vine.  Honeybees and Bumble bees are great pollinators for your pumpkins and squashes.

Consider following my blog and I would love to read your comments!

1 comment:

  1. Well and simply stated. I understand even better now that I see and read the whole process. The photos are gorgeous! Such color! Thank you for sharing.