June 27, 2013
Okra, Pole Beans, and Cucumbers
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.