Hand Pollinating Your Garden

Take matters into your own hands and pollinate your garden on your own with this hand pollination guide.

| March 2018

  • Learn to spot a male or female flower before hand pollinating.
    Photo by John Laurie
  • It is not possible to over pollinate your flowers.
    Photo by John Laurie
  • “Grow. Food. Anywhere.” by Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon is a guide to growing fresh and nutritious produce no matter the size and location of your garden.
    Photo by John Laurie

Grow. Food. Anywhere. (Hardie Grant, 2018) by Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon goes through every fruit and veggie you can think of, giving you the best tips on growing each, as well as the different buggies and diseases that may be coming after your garden. In the following excerpt, they explain how to hand pollinate your garden.

Sometimes gourds and melons can have difficulty attracting the right partner. In these cases, canny gardeners take matters into their own hands. Hand pollination is standard practice in the horticultural world and is one way to pick up the slack when the birds and the bees just aren’t doing their job.

As always, you want to get the mood right. Maybe you want to invite your friend Marvin Gaye over for a bottle of pinot, or perhaps it’s more of a Guns ‘N’ Roses kind of affair. No matter your taste, you will want to get down to business quickly and that means getting to know the anatomy of your plants.

1. Inspect your plant for different flower genders.



2. While both flowers are superficially very similar, a closer examination will reveal that female flowers have a longer and thicker stem than the male flowers on your plant. Fruit grows from the base of female flowers and even before pollination has occurred, the stem should be slightly engorged. Male flowers, on the other hand, will have thin stems and tend to bloom earlier and in greater abundance.

3. Pluck a couple of the males by the stem. Peel back their petals to expose the plant’s stamen, a phallic structure at the center of the blossom.






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