Taming the Wild Squash Plant

Bigger than I thought

Bigger than I thought

I had some friends over last week for a fall gardening class. One of the volunteer plants that they got to see was my butternut squash plant that has gone wild. It is rudely invading more space than I would have allowed for it.

I did not really care, because I had nothing else planted. But since I now have volunteer peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos all competing for the same space, I thought that I would trim it back.

volunteer pepper

volunteer pepper

One of my friends (and fellow blogger) Tiffany Davis, asked how I would trim such a thing. One of the other class members asked about how to tell male from female flowers.
So here goes. The early morning hours are when the flowers are open and able to be pollinated. This morning I went out and looked for the males, and pulled the stamens out. I held it between my thumb and finger like a tiny paint brush.

male flower-no bump

male flower-no bump

Male flower with stamen intact

Male flower with stamen intact

Then I found the female flowers and painted the inside of the flower with the stamen (paint brush).

Female Flower-bump

Female Flower-bump

Female Squash Flower ready to be pollinated

That – my friends, is pollination, or the bee part of the birds and the bees. (I am still not sure what the bird part is all about.) I have not seen many bees this year. I plan on doing something about that. But right now, Steve says “No bee hives” I will patiently wait. I did tell him this morning at our family breakfast, that I would not ask him for a cow (while we live here).  Please see my Amazon store regarding the book “Bee Keeping for All“. That is the book that I am reading right now.  Sorry, I strayed just a bit.

How to trim. I picked up each octopus type leg of the plant, and looked at it from the furthest tip away from the base of the plant, following it back to the base. What I did was make my cut between a male flower, and the first female flower that I saw. This keeps my females intact.
Not to worry this plant seems to have a ratio of about 10 males to 1 female.
I will continue to paint, and trim (any painters out there?) during my morning garden walks.

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About sharinglifesabundance

I am a backyard food producer. I grow 800 square feet of organic vegetables in the desert year round.
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