Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gardening and Self Pollinating

Wow, its been a long time!  Sorry, but I do have three kids.  You may not think that's a good excuse, but I know otherwise ;).  Seriously though, three kids keeps me BUSY!  Well, my aunt Karri posted a video with Seth Godin on Facebook and it made me re prioritize my blogging.  I could go on about it, but I won't.  If you don't know who Seth Godin is though, you should definitely Google it.

So with that said, I'd like to talk about gardening for a while.  Now, I am very much an amateur gardener.  I think I have had a garden all of three times.  Not to toot my own horn, but the second of the three was pretty AWESOME!  I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  

Here is my third attempt at gardening

We've got squash, zucchini, red bell peppers, jalapenos, basil, cilantro, pumpkin, watermelon, cucumbers, honeydew, and a whole load of tomatoes!

Now, most of these plants I bought as starters.  I hope to start most everything myself next year, but we got kinda a late start, and starting everything from seed takes a little more forethought.  

In the past when I planted my garden I pretty much thought that the plant grows its own food with no help from anything(you know, besides water, dirt and sunshine).  And that is pretty much true, but this year I've learned that some plants do need a little assistance.  I'm talking about bees, people.  

For a few weeks I would get these little squash and pumpkins, but then they would fall off shortly after they arrived.  I was confused as to what was going on, so of course, I turn to youtube and the internet.  Apparently they weren't fruits, but ovaries!  Come on you guys, we all took freshman biology, you remember the lesson on flower reproduction?  THAT'S what I'm talking about!  

Apparently the plant grows this ovary with a female flower on top.  The bees, or butterflies, or whatever comes to drink the nectar from the male flowers and picks up pollen with their hairy legs and transports it to the female flower.   Then BAM!  A fruit is born!
You're probably thinking, "duh, Lyndsey, come on", and a part of me knew this.  The problem is this hasn't been happening in my little garden.  I took the bees for granted, assuming they would always be there for my gardening needs.  Well, they've abandoned me this year, so I decided it was up to me to pollinate them!  Its so simple too!  So here's a female flower opened

And here's a male

All you have to do is go out in the morning, pick a male flower, pull the petals back and rub it around the female lower parts.  I know,  it sounds kinda wrong, but if the bees aren't doing their job its up to you!  And this applies to anything that needs pollination.  Pumpkins, squash, zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, and quite a few others. 
Now, I was also having the same problem with my tomatoes.  Only when I did my research, I found that tomatoes have hermaphrodite tendencies.  That means they have both the female and male parts in the flower, and all you need is a little wind to mix them.  Well, there's plenty of wind in Santaquin, so that wasn't my problem.  My problem was I had too many suckers literally sucking the plants energy so there is none left for fruit. 

What is a sucker you say?  Well, better than try to explain it you better just watch how to prune suckers.

Happy gardening!

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