Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Help your Garden Grow: Making Baby Squash!

So, we have several garden boxes and containers setup in our back yard for vegetables and fruit.

Our goal is to actually grow a lot of our own fresh food.  Seriously, the last time I bought fresh vegetables (lately we've been buying frozen, or salad bags), I nearly stormed out of the store because of the prices.  I'm not paying $2-something for a weird looking tomato that has NO FLAVOR.

Well, we've had a bunch of ups and downs, but it looks like our Peppers are doing very well, and our Zucchini Squash, Yellow Squash, and Cucumbers are looking promising!

The Zucchini Squash and Yellow Squash have been flowering the past couple of weeks, but nothing else has been happening.  So the CheapGeek did some research (online and from some of our gardening friends), and found that we might have to pollinate the squash blossoms and anything else that blooms in our garden.  Essentially, we'd be helping our plants make babies.... Ew.

Kinda weird, eh?  Yeah, I felt weird about that, and didn't know why.  Probably because I felt that I was having some hand in Vegetable pro-creation, but you know what?  I got over it real quick.  We haven't invested all this time, money, and energy into these plants only to have no vegetables.

Since we've been going in and out of Bee shortages (every few months another Bee Hive/dwindling Bee population article appears in the news), and we haven't really planted anything to attract enough butterflies, it was my job to do what the Butterflies and Bees would be doing.

I got me some cotton swabs and collected pollen from each plant.

Not sure if you can see it, but there's plenty of pollen on this cotton swab.

Then, I transferred the pollen to other plants in the garden. It was a bit tricky with the Yellow Squash, their blooms are really fragile, and finicky.

I did this a few days ago, and it's working! It's too early to tell (or take pics) just yet, but instead of the flowers just dropping off, there's little bulbs behind the flowers, and the petals are closed.  That's a good sign!

I just might get some veggies after all. Yay!

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Wow--I've never tried pollinating plants by hand--way to go! I've been pretty lucky because I have lots of flowers growing around the vegetable beds, so so far the bees have done the work for me. Your plants look great!

    1. Hi Athena! Yeah, I'm totally new to this, and didn't realize that I should plant "support plants" near my veggies, so I guess I had to pretend to "be a bee"! I hope to grow some flowers closer to my plants. I've got some tiny marigold seedlings, and my friend wants to give me some morning glories!

  2. Wow - you are sooo smart! I am going to start calling you HoneyBee!!! Glad it worked! I LOVE fresh veggies!

    1. Haha, HoneyBee's the sweetest thing I've been called these days HedgeHogKnitter :) ...

      It totally worked! I'm gonna take a picture soon of my one tiny squash that's started to grow!

  3. I have tons of all sorts of bees and hover flies, mostly just wild things. But I plant a lot of things to attract them and make sure there is water for them too. I usually only hand pollinate when I'm going to save the seed and want to be 100% sure that it is pure.

    1. Hi Mary! I'm only just now learning about planting "support" flowers! I didn't realize that just having some of the random neighborhood flowers in my area wasn't enough! I've started some marigold seedlings, and I'm really hoping they take!

  4. Good for you- I'm hoping I don't need to do this with the bee hives we're hosting on our property this year. ;-)

  5. I have heard of this - it is a learning experience - our local radio garden talk show host says the first few flowers are all male and you'll know when the female flowers come - they have the makings of baby vegies already. I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,


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