Monday, May 17, 2010

The Middle of May

Here are a few shots of the garden areas to show how productive the crops are proving to be.
I never expected the tomatillos to grow so tall! and WIDE! I pulled a few fruit off and will make a salsa. The bed tot he right is loaded with Roma, Celebrity, Razzleberry and Cherokee Purple tomatoes and I didn't realize they should not be planted to close to the tomatillos. Oh well.....

Three shorts rows of Silver Queen corn. They are 4' tall and the tassels are blooming out.

Kentucky Wonder beans on 2 trellises and although there are lots of flowers, so far no beans to show. Bees yes. No beans.

OKAY now, Be the Bee is my mantra every morning... I buzz around looking for blossoms that need fertilizing because altought I see plenty of bee activity (and other crawlers) I choose to not trust them to do their jobs.

Here is a close up of both a male and female zucchini. The male is on the right. Click for a closer view, you'll see there is a BIG difference in the center area of the flower.

Here is a shot of what they look like emerging from the base of the plant itself. The female is the one on the bottom and the male right above. You should click on the photo to see a closeup. That way you can really distinguish the stems. The female stem, just below that flower, looks exactly like a zucchini. The other stem is much more slender.

I pinch off the MALE flower and remove the petals to expose the seed pollen better and gently brush the tip to the female.
That's it.
Now, there are lots of times you will see only males. Other times, only females. That is frustrating, but I think nature's way for controlling what she can support.

For example, for two weeks now I have been pollinating two butternut squash plants out back and I must have around 2 dozen squashes growing on the 2 vines.
This morning, I went out there to Be the Bee and found around 10 male flowers in full bloom and not a single female. I think the vines have decided they can support the fruit that's out there and no more and won't allow the females to produce the flower. There are plenty of tiny tiny butternut squashes but they have no flowers attached. No flower= no pollination and the fruit will simply drop off. Now if you happen to get only females (this happens A LOT in the beginning of the season I have found) and no males to fertile with, they too will grow slightly and then shrivel up and fall off the vine.


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