"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

13 August 2011

I Am Mother Nature- Garden Update

At least I had fun pretending to be when I hand pollinated a flower for the very first time! :)

After investigating the possible reasons behind having loads of zucchini flowers but no zucchini, we realized that the very few bees we have seen this year may mean our blooms have not been getting pollinated. I decided I had to become a pollinator. I studied pictures of male and female zucchini flowers and read about how to transfer pollen via Q-tip and waited through several mornings watching for open flowers. Yesterday morning I peeked out to see a big, fat blossom smiling at the sunshine. I grabbed a Q-tip & ran to the garden in my cat PJs. :)

The open flower was a male, but there were no other blooms open. I carefully peeled open some flowers that were ending their life cycle but hadn't fallen off the plant yet. All males. Then I found one that hadn't opened at all yet! I carefully peeled away the flower petals from the top and peered inside- a female! I gently swabbed the male flower with a Q-tip until it was pollen-coated, and inserted it into the unopened female bud and swirled it around to transfer the pollen. MOTHER NATURE! :D Just out there watering a few minutes ago, and there are some new buds ready to open tomorrow. You can bet I will be out there with swabs in hand in the morning! :)

My pollen-coated cotton swab post-transfer. :)

More Updates:

~Our green beans and most of our herbs have continued to give us yummy, fresh things to eat. Our lettuce suffered in the recent heat wave and hasn't given us much. We cut it way back and are hoping for good stuff soon.

~Tomato plants: One of our heirloom tomato plants is still struggling. An entire branch died, leaving the two tiny tomatoes that were growing on it in peril. We picked them and will harvest the seeds for next year. There are still two tomatoes growing on it, and it looks as though the plant may be able to sustain these to maturity! Our other plant seems to have stabilized- yay! There are lots of baby tomatoes and some blossoms, and we had our very first little heirloom pink tomato in a grilled cheeze! Delish! After more reading about the bolting plants, we are thinking that perhaps we don't have quite enough light for the garden after all.

~Golden raspberry. I found out that plants don't fruit until the second year. Berries next summer! :)

~Our rogue pumpkin plant died! Suddenly and completely! :{

~Planted new seeds! We decided to go for our very first fall harvest, and after some cleanup, pruning, weeding, and transplanting made room for broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and dill & cilantro. YAY!

More later!

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