Friday, August 16, 2013

Career, er, Garden Paths

It would seem I have a new job.

As a bee.

Okay, you got me—I haven't donned a striped costume and makeshift coat-hanger-gossamer wings (yet).

But I'm doing a far finer job of pollinating our garden than the actual bees in our backyard.

If only this asshole would do his job.

Last year, despite a plethora of blooms, our garden squash (butternut, zucchini, and pumpkin) didn't do so shit hot. So my Google-fu kicked in and I turned to the Interwebs to find out why.

Oh. Female flowers + pollen of male flowers = veggies. Got it.

But female pumpkin flowers + pollen of male zucchini flowers = nada. This also applies to any variations thereof.

In other words, my bees were confused and I needed to step in and help my veggie plants have sex.

I wish I were kidding.

So this year I've been carefully watching for when my female blooms open so I can use a cotton swab to dust them with the appropriate male flower's pollen.

Again: I wish I were kidding.

And it's one of those things that has to be done in a timely manner. As in: before the bees zoom in and screw it up on me, as they are wont to do. These flowers open first thing in the morning, and as soon as they're fertilized (by whatever pollen), they shrivel and drop off... like, by the end of the day.

If they've been hit with pollen from a flower from their own species, then their bounty grows into a consumable vegetable success. If not, then the veggie in question shrivels and drops off with the poorly-fertilized flower.

Yes, this foray into backyard gardening has reminded me of much of what I've forgotten of high school biology.

Case in point: we went camping. Then the bees fertilized some flowers for me. And clearly failed at their life purpose.

I was gone for two days. Stupid bees.

So you can bet I've been watching our butternut squash vine like a hawk...

Back off, assholes, she's mine!

I'll be damned if I let those little buggers screw up our first butternut squash of the season...


  1. Ah, it's a sad day for nature when a human does a better job at pollinating than a bee. Still, you've learned a new skill! Now you just need to figure out how they do that honey thing and you're set.

  2. I've been waiting on this, myself. Mine are all dudes though :(

  3. Yeah, our ratio of male to female blooms is like 10 to 1... be patient, the girls should show... :)

  4. If only life were like that... :)