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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Hand pollinating squash blossoms

i gave them their chance, but since I found an un/under-pollinated aborted femaleKakai squash blossom, I decided to go ahead and hand pollinate them myself.

There were actually THREE female blossoms open this morning. :() ...and side-benefit of hand pollinating is that since the petals of the male blossoms need to be removed to get them out of the way, they can go in the harvest basket. I had them in my lunch salad. :wink:

Since Kakai is a C. pepo and susceptible to SVB (squash vine borer) I want them to set and develop their fruits as quickly as possible and hopefully to fully mature squash (and seeds -- Kakai is grown for their Hulless seeds) before they are taken down by the nasty buggers.

My summer squash (also C. pepo) and Guatemalan Blue (C. maxima -- and also susceptible) as well as a volunteer C. maxima are also starting to bloom. In fact I think the volunteer maxima has a female blossom that has set fruit, but I think I will hand pollinate whenever I see female blossoms.

I'm growing two varieties of C. moschata -- Black Futsu and Tromboncino, and a gourd eaten like summer squash as a trial -- Narcissus F1. These will hopefully be resistant and won't need to be coddled as much.
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Igotworms
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Re: Hand pollinating squash blossoms

are you doing any intentional cross pollinating?

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Hand pollinating squash blossoms

I will be trying to make some intentional crosses with tomatoes, but I don't think I will with cucurbits this year. If I do, I might try with the several varieties of melons I planted IF they grow well.

I'm letting my watermelons "mingle" just for fun and planting saved seeds. I'll just keep saving seeds from tasty ones to grow each year and see what happens.

Individual winter and summer squash each take up so much space that I hesitate to attempt making crosses then face having to try to grow out the subsequent generations for the desired trait..... :shock:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Igotworms
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Re: Hand pollinating squash blossoms

that's cool. breeding can be a challenge. I was thinking about doing a few tomato and pepper crosses but I think I'm just going to keep the heirloom genetics going.

pepperhead212
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Location: Woodbury NJ Zone 6B

Re: Hand pollinating squash blossoms

I have noticed what seemed to be a shortage of pollinating insects, though it seems they are starting to show up a little more recently. I didn't even see many carpenter bees on my chive blossoms, and they are usually all over things like that! And my tomatillos are usually loaded with them, too, but not many there. I also hand pollinated my cucumbers, and I'm starting to see the flowers for winter squash and canteloupe, so I am going to do this tomorrow, assuming I can walk in
my garden, after these 3" of rain! LOL
Dave

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kayjay
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Location: Southern Ontario

Re: Hand pollinating squash blossoms

I had bumblebees in my yard alllllllll day while the lilacs were in bloom, but now that they're done, I don't think I've seen a single pollinating insect. I hand-pollinated my first female cuke just to be on the safe side. My SO said, "did you ever consider that maybe your plants just want a little privacy?" :wink: :>
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Hand pollinating squash blossoms

Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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