Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pumpkin Pollination

As you know, I am a novice at growing pumpkins. I have 2 experimental pumpkin hills in the rocks of our wild back landscaping hill. I recently pulled out a bunch of ground-cover weeds and discovered a single pumpkin starting to grow. I was excited about this, but also quite baffled how we could have flowers blooming like crazy for the last 4 weeks and only have one actual pumpkin. So I turned to one of my favorite inventions: Google. After only 15 minutes browsing some pumpkin web sites I learned some very interesting things. Did you know that pumpkin vines have both "male" and "female" flowers? The pollen from the male has to be transferred to the female in order for a pumpkin to form. The males usually start blooming first and far outnumber the females. That explains all the beautiful flowers that have just dried up after blooming. Another factor is the rapidly decreasing honey bee population. I got some tips on hand pollination to increase the chances of pumpkins forming. Now I'm on the look-out for blooming female buds to help the process along. Who knew? I'll still be happy with at least one decent-sized pumpkin to set out front and maybe carve, but I'd love to share some with the neighbor kids, too. :o)

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