pollinating squash by hand

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)April 8, 2011

I tried to grow squash last year; little immature fruits appeared on the female plants, but unfortunately shriveled up and died due to lack of pollination.

People have suggested pollinating by hand, however when should I do this? I was told that for squash plants and melon plants, the males blossoms always appear before

the female blossoms is this true?

Also I was told if you overcrowd the plants, that you'll get more male blossoms than female blossoms? The other question I have in regards to that is if you overcrowd the plants, are the immature fruit more likely to die, due to putting stress on the plant, or is it simply because of lack of pollination, or is it a combination of the two?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Here is a link to the FAQ here on how to hand pollinate squash. It answers all your questions except the over-crowding. Yes overcrowding stresses the plants but it does not increase the odds of self-pollination. So yes it is a combination of both.

Here is a link that might be useful: Squash pollination FAQ

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 7:05PM
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Do you have a native bee habitat near your garden?
You can pick one up at a garden center or though a seed catalog.
I made one out of bamboo shorts with one half inch holes in the bamboo. Cut the 5/8 dia. bamboo about 6-8 inches long.
Leave the natural partition in the middle, with each end open, so the bees can nest.
Tie the bamboo in bundles of 20 or so.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:23PM
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grant_zz(USDA 10a / Sunset 17 / AHS 2)

i've found hand pollination easy and effective. at small scales. obviously its a hell of a lot of work if you're dealing with a lot of plants... bees, bees, wonderful bees... provide wildflowers and water and they will come.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:58PM
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hi there!

as a newbie last year, i found it pretty easy, and here's what i did:

once i figured out which were the male and female flowers (beautiful aren't they?), i realized that yes, the males came before the females.

so i snipped the male flowers and put them in a large zippy bag, no more than two per bag.

as soon as the females appeared and opened up, i'd grab a male from the fridge, pick or snip the petals off where the yellow met the green, leaving the 'tip' with all that glorious pollen.

then i'd 'tickle' the inside (the stamen??) of the female with the 'tip' of the male.

it worked EVERY TIME! and i noticed that the more pollen i covered the female with, the quicker and bigger the fruit was - could have just been a coincidence!

good luck and i really hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 10:44PM
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kawaiineko_gardener They say a picture says a thousand words. I hope you find this link helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Squash & Pumpkin Pollination

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 2:02AM
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Even better yet how about a video? I know the video is of a winter squash. However summer squashes are the same except that the female ovum may not be as large. Its still noticeably different than the male though as seen in the pictures in the link in my previous post.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening How-To: Pollinating Winter Squash

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 2:15AM
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