Hand Pollinating My Zucchini (Really!)

Growing up in Munich my mother was the gardener. I was the girl who liked to visit the Viktualianmarkt and “ooh” and “aah” at the colorful bouquets of flowers but in reality I was much more interested in looking at all the fresh veggies, fruit, and cheese that were on display.

Here’s a couple of photos from my visit to Munich’s “Markt”in July 2014!

IMG_7708IMG_7706When we bought our first condo on Long Island, I reluctantly planted some tomatoes on our balcony in pots that didn’t grow and basically didn’t think about any true gardening until we bought our first house in 2001. There I had a sizeable yard – enough to grow rose bushes that bloomed without me having to do anything at all, hostas that would come up even if a certain husband ran over them with the lawn mower and herbs (sage, parsley, chives, and rosemary) that would come back year after year even after the coldest of winters.

Now I have 4 acres – a lot of it forest – along with some bamboo and sumac trees. When we planted the first garden a few years ago, we first had someone rip up the sod so we could throw down some gardening soil, cow manure and peat moss.  Basically anything that came in a bag that said “organic” on it and bragged that it could help grow crops as tall as the Empire State building and cause flowers to burst into bloom and be worthy of an appearance in Macy’s annual flower show, I would use to get my garden “ready.”

I know about crop rotation and about not planting certain plants next to each other. What I didn’t have in my Long Island garden that I have Upstate New York are 1) deer, 2) many many rabbits and 3) groundhogs. This meant that even with the fence Lynn put up, the deer managed to nibble on any large flowers that sprouted above the fence and both the rabbits and groundhogs dug holes or simply wiggled their way through openings in the fence.

See? Here is Mr. Bunny waiting to get into the garden after lounging around all day in the grass!

IMG_9011Consequently, much of what I planted was eaten before it even had a chance to grow! This year, unlike last year, it seemed I would have a bumper crop of zucchini! I had never seen so many blossoms and even made some fried zucchini blossoms for dinner one night that I stuffed with goat cheese from a nearby farm.

IMG_3487Problem was all I had were blossoms, there was no actual zucchini attached.

After a little bit of research, I found theveggielady.com who walked me through the process of hand pollinating female zucchini blossoms with male ones to result hopefully in baby zucchini!  Although I was skeptical that this Australian lady could help me, she also had really great pictures that made it seem easy and doable.

Since anything science-related was not my strong point (when we had to dissect a frog in 10th grade bio I decided skipping school and risk being expelled from the National Honor Society was a better option than having to deal with a frog), I decided to try and focus on what I was doing and maybe it would in fact work.

How difficult could this hand pollinating thing be? Strangely, I can handle blood and cutting things up and dealt with many a messy poopy diaper from both children but I absolutely cannot deal with vomit. Case in point: my son Nicholas threw up in his car seat one morning, the vomit rolling down his winter jacket and literally enveloping the entire jacket zipper. I was so grossed out about touching the vomit-laden zipper that I simply cut the jacket off of him!!  (Nicholas, I don’t think that traumatized you that much did it?)

So, last week I did what theveggielady told me to do, although I must admit that the inside of a female zucchini blossom didn’t look much different than the male ones! (I was never good at doing those stupid tests where you have to find 3 of the same or figure out which one is different than the other.) I gently snipped off the male stamen (sorry, Mr. Zucchini Blossom) and gently rubbed the stamen onto what looked like a Ms. Zucchini Blossom.

Afterwards, I decided that this experiment is the true meaning of “food porn!” Okay, foodie/chef friends, you should really be laughing and not groaning at that statement right now.

Like any “Mom” who wants to have a baby, I waited and waited and suddenly yesterday, I saw a tiny little zucchini actually growing from a blossom. Holy shit!

IMG_8988Okay, so I’ll never get an honorary Horticulture degree from a college for this revelation but it did work and was kind of neat.

This entry was posted in cooking, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening tools, Munich, The Property, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hand Pollinating My Zucchini (Really!)

  1. Irene McCoy says:

    What? No video of the ‘fertilizing’ process?

    Enjoyed the piece.


  2. Irene McCoy says:

    What? No video of the ‘fertilizing’ process?

    Enjoyed the piece.


    ps. No, I haven’t sent this comment in before. Your website said I had.

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