Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pollinating Pumpkins (and some other vines) by Hand with Pictures

Hello, all! I know it’s been a while, but I haven’t forgotten about this blog!  Today I want to talk about pollinating your pumpkins!  This is a very important topic for anyone growing pumpkins because without pollination you won’t have any pumpkins!  So, of course Mr. Bee is out there helping to get the job done, but do you really want to rely solely on those little fuzzy guys?  They can be a bit flaky.  Sometimes the most reliable pollinator is yourself.

Alright, quite often plants reproduce in a similar way to humans; the male and female parts of the flowers  (or the male and female flowers) need to interact to produce the fruit that will bear its seed and grow new plants.  Your job is to make sure the pollen from the male flower gets to the female flower.  With pumpkins (and some other vines) the female flower is pretty easy to identify:

Female Pumpkin Flower

An Unopened Female Pumpkin Flower (click picture for seeds)

This is a picture of an unopened female flower.  You can clearly see the tiny future pumpkin at the base of the flower.  All female pumpkin flowers will have this tiny pumpkin, but if the flower is not pollinated it will simply wilt and the tiny pumpkin will shrivel up.  The flower must be pollinated for it to become a pumpkin.  (Sorry to be so repetitive, I just want to be clear).  So when the flower has opened up, it’ll be a beautiful hibiscus-esque blossom with creamy yellow-orange petals.

Male Pumpkin Flowers

Male Pumpkin Flowers (click picture for seeds)

This is the time to pollinate.  Do it as soon as the female flower has bloomed.  Just for further clarity, the male flowers will be identifiable by their lack of a tiny pumpkin at their base, and all female flowers will have the tiny future pumpkin.  Simply pull off one of the male flowers, as shown in the picture above, and feel like a perv by rubbing the male flowers’ pollen-y stamen into the female flowers.  Or, if you don’t want to pull any of the males off the vine, simply use a paintbrush to collect the pollen and place it into the female flower.  That’s really all there is to it!

Oh, and it’s best to use males from a separate vine from the females (to avoid a sort of inbreeding haha).  Good luck and happy growing!

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