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Hand Pollinate Pumpkins

by Lucy (follow)
Turn off the TV and tune into your own imagination. Enjoy each moment, allowing your creativity to unfold in the kitchen, craft space or in nature.
Gardening (10)      Flowers (7)      Vegetables (3)     
Sometimes the birds and the bees need a little assistance. If the pumpkin vine in your vegetable patch or compost heap is producing flowers but not fruit (pumpkins), then chances are you need to help mother nature along. It is a very simple process and within a few weeks a big fat pumpkin will be ready to harvest.

Female Pumpkin flower
The female pumpkin bud

Time: 5 minutes

Male pumpkin flower
Female pumpkin flower

Female Pumpkin flower
Female pumpkin flower


Early in the morning, go and spy on your pumpkin vine. You need to spot both a golden male and a golden female flower. The male has a long stamen and the female has a complex collection of stamens and a bud full of seeds just behind the main flower (see above). The flowers wilt in the sunlight and will be gone by the afternoon, so you need to get out there before they disappear.

Female Pumpkin flower
Male pumpkin flower

Pick the male flower and expose the stamen by pulling off the delicate petals (see below). Be sure to leave the female flower attached to the pumpkin vine itself, so it can continue to be nourished and grow big and strong.

Female Pumpkin flower
Expose the male stamen

Now for the fun part. Gently insert the male stamen into the female stamen, so that the pollen crosses between the two flowers. This usually brings a few laughs the first time you have a go, but it actually does work wonders.

Hand pollinate pumpkins
Gently pollinate the female flower

Wait a few weeks to admire the fruits of your labor and enjoy bountiful ripe pumpkins at the end. The pumpkin is ready to harvest when the stem starts to lose its green color (and hopefully the local wildlife hasn't beaten you to it).

Hand pollinate pumpkins
Enjoy a lovely fat pumpkin at the end

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