Archive | 4:45 pm

Hand pollinating pumpkins

12 Dec

Female Golden Nugget flower

Pollination normally goes down without a hitch around here. I don’t seem to be short of pollinating insects, and I love to see the bees flying about on bright sunny days.

Unfortunately I haven’t always had great success with zucchinis, squash and other members of the cucurbit family. Last year most of my zucchinis failed to set, and this year I’m not taking any chances.

Male Golden Nugget flower

I’m growing quite a few different cucurbits this year – zucchini, button squash, kent pumpkin, rockmelon, wee b little pumpkin and one of my favourites – golden nugget. The golden nuggets are a bush variety of pumpkin that grow more like a zucchini. I adore them quartered, seeds scraped out and roasted with their skin on. They are also great for stuffing.

These are the first of the pumpkins to flower, and seeing as we’ve had so much rain, I’ve been giving them a helping hand.

I’ve been out there, keeping an eye out for female flowers (the ones with a little bulb behind them). When I see one open, I’ve been plucking a male flower (one on a long stalk without the little bulb), removing the petals and brushing its pollen into the centre of the female.

Baby Golden Nuggets todayI took the photos above about a week ago, and so far not a single female flower has failed to set fruit. I have little golden nuggets all over the place, and I can’t wait to roast some.

Eating seasonally, I really miss pumpkins!