Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zucchini Pimp

Like me, my zucchini plants are having infertility issues. They seemed off to the races from the moment I planted them in their galvanized tub, and when they started to blossom and grow baby zucchini I was thrilled.  Last year our plants blossomed but no scrumptious zucchini appeared.  This year I could taste the roasted vegetable wraps already as the little green squashes emerged. 

Unfortunately to my dismay, the tiny zucchini began to rot before ever getting past the newborn stage.  A quick internet search told me that I had “Blossom End Rot.”

One of the culprits of Blossom End Rot is a lack of pollination.  We were pretty sure that lack of pollination was the reason we ended up with no zucchini at all last year.

Since I live in a town home complex and am not permitted to house and raise my own honey bees (a future aspiration) and my attempts to attract them with yummy flowers hasn’t quite worked out (or so I assume) I was going to  have to pollinate my zucchini by hand. 

According to the directions I read online, early morning is the best time to hand pollinate as this is when the zucchini flowers are open.  The male flowers are at the end of long thin stems and the female flowers are rounded and sit attached to end of the little zucchini. 

 I cut one of the male flowers from the plant, gently tore some of the flower off so that all of the fertile pollen was exposed and then I gently opened up the female flowers and dumped then kind of rubbed the inside of the male flower into the inside of the female flower (I contemplated using some Barry White music to make everyone more relaxed but seeing as it was early morning I didn’t want to disturb the neighbors).    

There was something about the process that felt very procreative and I logged it as a possible good teaching opportunity for the birds and the bees (though in my case lack of bees) discussion someday (with future child) as the zucchini anatomy is a good initial example of human anatomy.   Once I had paired up all of the squash couples I left the pollen to do what the pollen is supposed to do.  (*note this was my interpretation of the online directions and could possibly be incorrect).

I have to admit that the process made me feel a bit like the zucchini pimp or maybe more like the zucchini infertility specialist.  I hope that next year some bees will be happy to act as the third party.  This of course makes me imagine little bees dressed up in mini purple fur coats and hats with zebra print trim.  Please enjoy that mental picture.

*Just as an update, my surgery has been rescheduled for August 23rd.  I made sure to “pencil” it in, literally, just to be on safe side.

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