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Operation PUMPKIN POLLINATION 2011

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Operation PUMPKIN POLLINATION 2011

In 2009 I had tried hand-pollinating pumpkins for the first time.  (If you click the link, make sure to start at the bottom and work your way up, the posts are appearing in reverse chronological order).  After seeing award-winning pumpkins at the NC and NE State Fairs, I wanted to learn more about how one gets a 1000 lb. pumpkin...

I was surprised this weekend at all the buds that were appearing on my pumpkin plants and decided to give it a go again this year.  I had my first two female flowers open up this morning, and there are at least 4 more that will be opening up this week!

Two male flowers.  These guys are about 8" across, attracting all sorts of bugs!
One of the female flowers.  Note the "stigma" in the center, looks different than the male flower above.
A view of the bulb behind the flower.  If pollination is successful, that bulb grows into a pumpkin.
To hand-pollinate, you select a male flower, remove the petals, and get the powdery stuff on the stamen in contact with the stigma on the female flower.  I didn't photograph the actual pollination, but you can see a 2009 version here.
This bee might have been a step ahead of me, there was plenty of wildlife around to take care of things if I had missed those flowers opening.

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4 Comments:

At Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 9:08:00 AM CDT , Blogger The Country Cook said...

I remember that post in 2009! We didn't grow pumpkins this year. I don't know why we didn't. We are trying watermelons this year..LOL. Wish us luck!!

 
At Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 3:31:00 PM CDT , Blogger Don Miller said...

So does it matter if the male flower is from the same or different plant? I guess that bees wouldn't care.

 
At Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 4:53:00 PM CDT , Blogger Major Mom said...

Don: I don't think it matters -- isn't that how cross-breeding, hybridizing happens? I have 3-4 plants of the same type here, and to be honest I can't tell which of the plants the male flower came from....

 
At Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 9:22:00 AM CDT , Blogger Maryann Goldman said...

I remember you doing this in NC and having great results.

 

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