Hand Pollinating Squash
If that’s the case your plants that need some extra help in the love department might not set fruit. Never fear, with squash this is something you can take into your own hands.
I’m talking about hand pollinating squash.
It’s actually a very easy process, you just need to find a male flower and a female flower.
Here’s a male one; notice it has a normal stem and one big fused anther covered in powdery pollen granules.
Here’s a female one. The immature fruit on the base of the flower is a sure sign you have the lady parts in hand.
Hey now, this is a family show. Don’t be thinking like that!
Now peel back the petals from the male flower so you are left with a little wand.
Be careful not to knock the pollen off.
Now gently twirl and rub the pollen off in the center of and all over the stigma in the other flower, that sectioned sticky looking protuberance in the center of the female flower.
Congratulations, you just made a baby!
bahahah! Bet you weren’t expecting me to say that!
Now there are a few things to keep in mind. You don’t need to pollinate with a flower from the same plant. You do however need to make sure that you are pollinating two flowers from varieties within the same species because generally, the different species can’t hybridize.
Sometimes even if you do it right a female flower will still shrivel up and fall off. Don’t sweat it, at least you tried!
Now, if you want to save seed that will breed true you can use this technique to control which plant cross to prevent different varieties within the same species from cross pollinating.
A few days or the night before flowers open you can put mesh bags, such as these that are intended for produce ( I actually have these bags by the way) over the flowers to prevent insects from pollinating the flower before you have a chance to. You can also tape them shut or use clips.
Then proceed to hand pollinate; when you are finished cover or close the female flower again to prevent any other pollen from fertilizing it. You can remove the cover in a couple days.
If you find you have an excess of male flowers you can make delicious stuffed squash blossoms, you really should try them!
For your further reference here’s a short list of varieties; in case you need to know who can make babies with you, yikes! I meant with who!
Who can make babies with who.
Well, that doesn’t sound great either…
List of Cucubit Varieties Organized By Species:
~ like I said, this is a short list. If you are looking for something and don’t find it here I highly recommend visiting Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds~
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
Red Kuri (Hokkaido)