Pumpkin Sex

Yesterday I pollinated the 895 Grande female pumpkin flower (scroll back to see what it looked like on July 4th and how much it has grown) with an older male flower from the same plant and I took a fresh male flower from the ‘greenie’ which won’t affect the looks of this pumpkin but may produce green pumpkins from it’s seeds. I just don’t have any opened male flowers from the pumpkins so I had to use the ‘greenie’flower. Notice how much bigger the female flower is now.

So this is how it works. To see more lude photos go to last year post here but basically here’s the dirt on GIANT PUMPKIN MATING HABITS!

All pumpkins produce both male and female flowers and normally the bees do the pollinating landing on the male flowers, picking up the pollen from the male flower and visits the female flower and drops off the pollen on the female flower being attracted by the wonderfully sweet smell of the female flower. BUT with pumpkin growers, we need to know which two pumpkins ‘hook up’ so we don’t get an accidental pollination with a winter squash or another pumpkin we don’t want it to mix it up with. We want to get the biggest pumpkin we can so we keep track of those sort of things. So we hand pollinate. Yesterday I took a male flower and took off the petals and ‘paint’ the pollen all over the female flower stigma with the male stamen. Some of the pollen must go down the female stigma flower for pollination to be complete. If I didn’t get enough pollen on it, it will either not take or abort later. After I pollinated the flower, I used a twistie tie to close it for 24 hours so no bees can accidentally pollinate it. I hope it ‘takes’ but it may not as it was very hot yesterday and quite often it won’t take if the temperature gets too high (over 90°F). There are many baby flowers now so it is going to get interesting very soon!

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