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Friday, July 19, 2013

I got 99 problems but squash aint one

  I have been nerding out in the garden plot all spring and summer. It really is therapeutic and all that hippie dippy center your chi type stuff. When life is annoying or stressful I can go water or take cucumber inventory and chill my self out. Works every time. I was doing my thang, elbow deep in dirt and compost and talking to a friend when she told me a few things I never knew about my tomato plants. Sometimes it's really good for us as adults to remember that we do not know everything. Even in our most cherished and practiced hobbies. There are always new tactic and facts to educate ourselves about. I soak it up with joy when friends or family tell me tricks and tips! It makes my little farm kick ass all that much more. So when I was going through the motions of a squash assisting trick I learned from my garden bible, I said to myself  "self, I bet some people would like to know your cool tip". And here we are.

 My beloved yellow squash and the oh so delightful pattypan squashes are a constant yearly staple for my belly. I can barely allow them to fully reach maturity before I gobble them up. I really lurk the squash pile and count the little blossoms as they start growing nubs of foodstuff. A few years ago I did some research when, to my horror, they started withering and dying after getting no more than a couple inches in size. I couldn't understand what the problem was. I watered and gave them the best soil. I was seriously saddened as I dead headed little baby squashlets into the compost. My companion books I have grown to rely on are from the flippin 70's but still hold some gospel truth about my edibles. These little guppers were not getting pollinated. The little girl blossoms bear veggies at the base and then the blossom opens. The little boy blossoms bear no food, just flower, on a spindly long stalk.

( girl flower with pattypan squashlet)

( boy flower)

  So I learned what to do to fix my problem and get these yummy squash to finish growing to their fully edible potential. I had to have squash sex. Pollination by way of paintbrush. 

  Once the blossoms are open you can easily get to the pollen in the center of the male flower and swish around with the brush. And usually there are lots open all at once. I plant huge piles of many squash all together so I like to bring out a few brushes, or Q-tips work fine too, to pollinate each with itself. Cross pollination totally happens and really cool veggies are born, totally different blog post. I will try to make that happen. 

 Then just swish the pollen laden brush around the inside of the female flower. Super easy and all it takes for your harvest to be bountiful. 

I am thinking about cross pollinating a yellow striped zucchini with this kind and see if we get Patty-Stripe-ini? Experiment time!!

Also, if you have an abundance of blossoms like us, you can make the most delectable treat ever! Fried squash blossoms. Just wash them, roll in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and brown in a frying pan of either hot butter or olive oil. I like the butter because, duh, butter. They are amazing. You can also stuff them with a pinch of rice and cheese or other sauteed veggies of you feel adventurous and serve atop a pasta dish to be all fancy. It makes people marvel at your awesome skills.


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