June 27, 2013

Okra, Pole Beans, and Cucumbers

The okra that are about knee high are just starting to form little okras, and the plants are forming side shoots as well which means more growing tips and even more okra. Most of the other okra plants are shorter than this because of replanting due to low germination.
The Cherokee Trail of Tears pole beans are thick and lush and have completely overtaken their 6 feet tall bamboo stakes (1.8 meters).
Lots of purple flowers and a few tiny beans can be found under the Cherokee Trail of Tears canopy.
The Chinese yard long beans are much further behind in comparison. The two varieties planted are Green Noodle and Mosaic yard long beans. The Mosaic yard longs beans have yet to blossom and are just starting to climb their poles.
The Green Noodle yard long asparagus beans may not be the most vigorous but they are producing beans much earlier than the other two pole bean varieties.
The Japanese Long cucumbers are coming along nicely, the blossoms have been hand pollinated.
Sweeter Yet F1 hybrid cucumbers are just starting to form.

I have only seen 3 bees in the garden this year. Usually there are bees everywhere in early spring visiting clover blossoms and Asian greens that have been allowed to bloom. Although, I have seen little insect pollinators visiting tomato blossoms this year. Bees are just so necessary for the pollination of zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, and okra.

Hand pollinating has been part of my daily regimen, but I am having mixed results. Zucchini and squash blossoms seem to be fertile for only a few hours in the morning, I have managed to get one zucchini and lots of dead baby squashes. Cucumber blossoms seem to be fertile for most of the day, so lots of growing cukes. I pollinate squashes and cucumbers by stripping the petals from the male flowers and dabbing the stamens at the center of the female flower. I use a q-tip on the okra which are perfect flowers containing both male and female parts in one blossom.

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