How do you pollinate cucumbers???

anitra(8)July 24, 2007

The tenants in our apartment building started a small urban garden this year -- a raised bed built in the back of the parking lot. Although I've seen bees, wasps, butterflies,and other insects buzzing around, I haven't been counting on them for pollination since the first zucchini I thought was growing shriveled up and died. I go out every morning to look for female flowers on the squash plants and manually bring them some pollen from the abundant male flowers. This is working on the zucchini, sunburst squash, and sugar pumpkins.

Now our lemon cucumbers have started to flower, and I'm stumped! The difference between the male and female flowers is obvious on the outside, but not when I look inside! If there is any pollen in those males, it's so fine I can't see it with the naked eye.

I have a few other varieties of cucumber going that won't need pollinating: Orient Express, Suyo Long, Palace King, Diva, and Little Leaf. We've already begun getting fruit from the Orient Express without having to fret over it. The Lemon Cucumber, I understand, *does* need to be pollinated.

But where's the dang pollen???

For the first few female flowers, I just peeled a male flower down to the base of it and then rubbed that into the female and hoped I was accomplishing something. Only one has started to swell. There's gotta be a better way to do this. Help!

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Violet_Z6(6a)

I go out every morning to look for female flowers on the squash plants and manually bring them some pollen from the abundant male flowers.

If they just started producing flowers, you don't need to pollinate them. What you need to do is be patient. There must be a dozen existing threads on this same issue throughout this Vegetable Forum.

The pollen is there where it should be in the male cuke blossoms, but again, just wait.

What you need to do is be patient and wait a good couple of weeks. No need to force them. It's normal in the early stages of when a squash/melon plant starts producing flowers for fruit to abort and for there to be a flush of male and/or female blossoms. Consider it the puberty stage for the plants. The plant needs to mature before it is ready to create fruit. Have faith that nature has genetically programmed everything to happen at the proper time. And have patience. It's normal.

In the meantime, if you have squash blossoms, eat the blossoms.

You decide how you prefer them. Some people get up early to harvest before sunrise so they get squash blossoms before they open for a crisp cone shape. Others like them partially open for cheese stuffings:

Recipes for Stuffed Squash Blossoms

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 9:55PM
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chaman(z7MD)

anitra, pollen is there in the male flowers as violet as pointed out.Peeling the male flower as you are doing also helps. What I suggest is early morning time is good for hand pollination in my exprience.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 10:17PM
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