Squash is one of the most popular vegetables that you can use to make many delicious recipes. No wonder it is a staple for some people. If you are a squash lover, you may consider growing it in your garden. Worry not if you haven’t tried gardening before because growing squash is relatively easy compared to other plants. All you need is to learn how to grow it and how to pollinate squash.
Why Grow Squash?
Of all the veggies out there, why should you plant squash? Although it may not sound like a garden staple, having this plant in your garden can provide you food to eat. You can save a lot of money once you have successfully grown squash because you don’t have to buy from the supermarket anymore. If you are into gardening, you’ll learn how fun it is to grow this plant. Besides, there are several squash varieties to choose from, including summer squash (for grilling), winter squash, and pumpkins (for Halloween carving). Although these varieties are less challenging to grow, you must understand how to pollinate squash and produce it successfully.
Identifying the Early Signs of Pollination
When growing squash, make sure to identify the early signs of pollination. There are a few ways to tell if your plant has been pollinated. One way is to observe how many pollinators visit the plant. Pollinators may include bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. If there are many pollinators in your garden, then there’s a high probability the flowers are almost pollinated. And if there are about eight visits, expect a much higher rate of pollinated calyx growing into a fruit. Another way of telling whether the squash is pollinated is by observing if the flowers wilt. Note that wilting often occurs 24 hours after the flower has been pollinated. The pollinated calyx will swell as it grows.
Poor Squash Pollination
You need to pollinate squash to reproduce the plant successfully. However, several factors can lead to poor pollination. Here are some of the common reasons why your plant is not pollinated.
Frosts can damage your plants’ flowers, ruining your crops. Suppose the frost was mild; you can save the blooms by simply spraying them with icy cold water. Make sure to do this first thing in the morning to slow down the rate at which the flowers warm up. Not only that, but it also allows them to thaw out gently.
No access to insects
Having no insects can decrease the chance of pollination. To avoid that from happening, consider opening the door of your greenhouse on sunny days and let the insects pollinate your plants.
Weather plays a vital role in a plant’s growth. If there is poor weather, that means that the plant will also grow poorly. When it comes to squash, prolonged heavy rain can result in fewer insects pollinating your crops. So make sure to pollinate the blooms by hand until the warmer weather arrives.
How to Pollinate Squash
If you want to pollinate squash successfully, here’s your guide:
- Start removing the green husk of the male flower stalks, which are the male flowers.
- Once done, shake the flowering heads to move the pollen from one spot to another. Doing so ensures that it is evenly dispersed throughout them.
- Next, the females should have white flowers; that’s why they need to be pollinated. If you are planning to cross-pollinate different types of squash, note that the squash seeds will only produce seeds that will grow into hybrid (non-viable) squash plants.
- Don’t forget that female flowers are generally pollinated within one day of their emergence or opening, although several factors can delay it.
- You may also consider hand pollinating the female flowers.
- The plants can then be removed and transplanted into the ground, but you can only do this if a good root system is formed.
- Once you are done with all the steps, you can plant your squash plants two weeks apart before the last frost date.
Squash is certainly a must-have for many exciting recipes. Although it is commonly available in supermarkets, would it be nice to have some fresh produce in your garden? Growing squash easy, so make sure to try it. But before you do it, don’t forget to learn how to grow this plant, including the care tips and how to pollinate squash.