Sometimes the bees need a little help

It’s pretty common to lose the first few fruits when growing squash and zucchini. Throughout my few years of gardening, I’ve learned that sometimes the bees need a little help pollinating the flowers.

There are two types of flowers that bloom. The male on the left has a long, thin stem. The female on the right has the itty-bitty fruit.

male/female squash flowersIf the female flowers are not pollinated by the male flowers, the squash will not mature. This often occurs when the plant is just beginning to flower because the male flowers are not much taller than the female flowers.

end rotSometimes the bees need a little help pollinating. You can do this with hand pollinating. Cut a male flower, remove all the petals, and leave the pollen covered anther.  Then, gently dab the male anther onto the female stigma…..

…..Are you remembering (or having bad flashbacks)  all that terminology from college biology yet? I have to admit that I was a science fan, and those were my favorite classes…..

Anyway, gently transfer the pollen from the male to the female flower:

hand pollinateThen, viola! Let nature do her magic while you sit back and watch.

Sonja Gapinski

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