Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Garden Updates (Pumpkins) - August 2013

I wanted to post some updates on my pumpkins in August but due to some unforeseen reasons, this post has been delayed until now. Well better late than never, isn't it? Here are some pictures of pumpkin flowers taken in mid August, those of you who are subscribed to my FB page, will probably have already seen this set of pictures.

This is a male flower, the thing sticking out there is called a stamen.
This is a female flower about to bloom the next morning. 
See the stigma insde the female flower?
Now how do you differentiate between a male and female pumpkin flower? It's very easy, just see if there is a small pumpkin fruit below the flower, if there is, it is a female flower. The stigma of a female flower needs to be pollinated by the pollen from the stamen of a male flower. This is generally the job of bees. But I don't trust that the bees will do a good job, neither do I trust the wild rabbits or whatever wild creatures lurking in my garden. So what I did was, I forced open the female flower, then I used a cotton bud (cotton swap/Q-tip) to rub against the stamen of the male flower, so as to collect the pollen, which was then rubbed against the stigma of the female flower. In short, I "raped" the pumpkin flowers. And I did it for a series of them, so that made me a "serial pumpkin rapist". :p

Well, this is a job which I take very seriously, no joke! You may ask, why do you go against the forces of nature, why don't you let nature take its course? Well, simply because I started very late in sowing and germinating the pumpkin seedlings this year. In fact, I was more than a month late in planting my pumpkins. What's more, I discovered that "somebody" (I dunno who yet, either rabbits or slugs) has been munching on my pumpkin flowers, both female and male. In order to protect the "virginity" of my flowers and in order to secure the future of my pumpkins, I had to take up the job of hand-pollinating the flowers, otherwise there will be no chance of seeing any pumpkins at all in October, seriously. In addition to hand-pollinating, I also covered the female flowers with plastic bags to protect them from being "harassed" by "unsavoury characters" lurking in my garden, and that worked pretty well. 

A female flower in full bloom.
Hand-pollination in process. Can you see that the female flower has already been ravaged by some unknown creature?

See, this was what happened the next morning, that "god-knows-what" creature has already eaten off almost the whole of the female flower. Luckily I have already hand-pollinated it the day before!

Well, that's about all for my pumpkins, I still have some pictures of my homegrown chillis and paprikas which I will share very soon. :)

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  1. Miss B, interesting write-up on pumpkin. Like the flower. So beautifully shot!

  2. What a great story!. I had no clue before reading this and I'm learning.... Thanks for an interesting Biology lesson, Miss B. Can't wait for the next class :-)

    BTW, when you got your chilli plant at Aveve, were there are chillies budding or plain bald? Thought of getting a plant...

    1. Hi nasifriet,

      Well, I haven't told you the sad story of my pumpkins, their future don't look promisinga t all...don't think I will be expecting any good pumpkin harvest this year, sigh!

      The chilli plant that I got from Aveve had no chillies budding at all when I bought it, it was a very tiny plant with just a few leaves but it grew very tall without much care and attention. The flowers will bloom first and after the flowers droop and die off, you will get chillies growing from the flowers. Chilli flowers are white and have both female and male parts, and the pollination is done by the bees.

      Just go to my garden updates in july, scroll all the way down and you will see a picture of the plant dated about 1 month after I bought them in May.


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