There are many plants that we love to grow but seem to always disappoint us with the quality and quantity of fruits that they produce every season.
Plants like squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins produce low-quality fruits and this is mostly a result of the poor pollination of these plants.
Plants that belong to the melon family are known to be associated with poor pollination, not because they do not produce flowers in large quantities but it is mostly a result of a number of reasons that will be discussed later in this article.
Many gardeners want to have a bountiful harvest of these lovely and beautiful plants but they do not know how to go about helping these plants to reach their best pollinating potentials.
If you have ever wondered why your plants keep producing fruits that are low in quality and produce in very small quantities, then you need to read this through.
Generally, plants in the melon family do produce both the male and female flowers on a single vine and require the help of certain pollinating insects such as bees to help transfer the pollen from the male flowers to the stigma of the female flowers.
However, in most cases, the numbers of pollinators that are available to help with this are quite low, therefore, there is a need for gardeners to take up the role and practice hand pollination.
The process involved in hand pollination is quite simple and it results in excellent productivity and it will also help to fight against the production of fruits that are low in quality or poorly formed.
Do you have any plants that belong to the melon family in your garden or you wish to learn how to pollinate these types of plants? Then this is the right place for you to be – read further to learn more about how you can conveniently pollinate these lovely plants.
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What Causes Poor Pollination?
This is an important question that we should ask ourselves. The problems of poor pollination experienced by most of these plants are caused by some factors that we need to pay so much attention to.
There are so many factors that we could blame for these occurrences and here are some of the main causes of poor pollination in these plants:
The number of pollinators: the number of bees and other insects that helps with pollination of the plant’s flower is very low and this does have a really big effect on the plant’s productivity. Without these insects, it is more or less impossible for plants to produce fruits naturally as a result of not being able to move pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers.
Effect of weather: the environmental condition also has a very big effect on the rate of pollination and when there is a stretch of very cool or hot weather over a period of time when the flowers are in bloom can as well have a tremendous effect on the plant.
Poor or bad watering: when the time you water the plants negatively affects the plant’s pollination activity, this might affect the pollen quality and quantity. When these types of plants are in bloom, it is important to avoid watering when the blooms first open either in the morning or at night. Even when you have to water, do not water the plant part; direct the water towards the plant’s root.
How to Pollinate Squash, Cucumber, and Pumpkins
In this section of the article, we will explain briefly how you can conveniently pollinate any of these plants and how to go about it.
Pollination can be much more effective if you take your time to supervise the process by yourself rather than depending on insects to carry it out for you and it is generally referred to as “Hand pollination.” Below are the steps involved in pollinating squash, cucumber, and other like plants.
Organic Mini Cucumbers
Identify the flowers:
Plants that belong to the melon family do have flowers of different gametes meaning they have both male and female flowers.
The different types of flowers, therefore, makes it a necessity for pollen to be transferred from the male flower to the female ones so as to be able to produce fruit.
Since the flowers only open once, it is very important for the pollination to be carried out as early as possible. Identifying which flower is male and the one which is female is therefore very important.
Male flowers: these flowers do have a straight flower stalk beneath the petals and they are the first set of flowers produced on the plant. They possess the pollens that help in the fertilization of the ovary.
Female flowers: these flowers have a bulbous stalk that looks like a small fruit. The female bulb-like part at the base of the flower is the ovary and when they receive the pollen, they develop to form a fruit. The pollen is received through the stigma.
Remove a male flower:
After you have been able to differentiate between the male and female flowers, the next step is to remove male flowers for the purpose of pollination.
This is to be carried out very early in the morning after the flower must have opened up; cut off the flower stalk with a pair of scissors.
After successfully removing the flower, the next thing to do is to remove the large petal covering the elongated, pollen covered with anther.
After the anther has been exposed, then you already have a “paint brush” with the stalk serving as the handle while the anther itself makes the head of the brush.
Locate the female flowers and apply pollen:
Once you have been able to remove the male “paint brush” which comprises of the stalk and the anther filled with pollen, then the next step is to look for female flowers (those with bulbous base).
After locating the female flowers, you can then rub the anther (head of the paint brush) against the center stigma of the female flower (NB: the stigma is the receptive part of the female flower).
The stigma should be brushed about three to four times for effectiveness and each of these flowers can be used to fertilize about four flowers.
You can use the male “paint brush” to fertilize female flowers on the same plant from which it was removed and can also be used for those on different plants as long as they belong to the same species.
Pollinate female flowers every morning:
It is advisable to hand-pollinate the plants early in the morning for the best result possible. Flowers bloom every day and they require the help of dedicated individuals to help them reach their full productivity level.
You should take some minutes out of your time every morning to pollinate the female flowers that have just opened so that you can be assured of consistent production of fully formed fruits over the weeks.
It will only take place for a very short period of time so you should be patient so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor more.
You do not have to worry about any problem regarding pollination or any other factors that affect the productivity of the plants as long as you are able to put these plants under control.
Pollination of plant’s flower is much easier if you devote your time to it and if you are ready to give it the best trial possible. Enjoy a bountiful harvest with no worries!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !