Flower Power

snapdragon
snapdragon pollinate!

Cucumbers need to get around. That is, they must pollinate (or be pollinated) to successfully set fruit. Sometimes, especially in urban gardens, a little matchmaking must be done for these heat-loving climbers.

female cucumber
female cucumber

When gardening on a small urban sundeck, each precious inch of soil must be put to good use (see: Making the Most of it). Although it’s tempting to fill every precious pot with something edible, to maximize your edible garden’s potential, throw in a few flowers to encourage the local bumble bees to stop by and get it on.

If your plants aren’t buzzing, and Mother Nature’s not quite hitting it off, don’t be afraid to help out. Grab a small watercolor paint brush, gently gather pollen from the male flower and dab it onto the female flower. (Honestly, it’s easy to tell cucumber flowers apart: female flowers will have a miniature wee cucumber at the base of the flower, male flowers don’t.)

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2 thoughts on “Flower Power

  1. Hey, Upma — greetings from the road! Mmmmm, strawberries…gotta’ say, though, that MI strawberries beat the heck out of NJ and PA berries.

  2. that’s a totally great tip. i bet that’s why we failed so miserably last year. we do have a good strawberry crop this year though. the squirrels are enjoying it a lot.

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