Watching my edibles go to flower and attract all sorts of buzzing insects always makes me smile. I know that pollinators are an important part of our ecosystem and that having them in my garden will help my veggies set fruit. Pumpkin and zucchini I’m thinking of you!
I’m aware of the basics of pollination, Doesn’t the pollinator flitter from flower to flower spreading the pollen love. Yes, that is true but when I researched a bit more and had flashbacks to high school biology, I remembered what a clever process that nature has set up, starting out with the way flowers that need insect pollination look and smell. These flowers are brightly coloured, strongly scented and often have nectar for the pollinators to feed off.
Keeping it simple – flowering plants have male and female parts. The male part is called the stamen and this is where the pollen is. The female part is called the pistil. At the top of this is a sticky part called the stigma. The pollen needs to get to the stigma and this is where pollinators help out.
As they flitter from flower to flower, pollen sticks to their bodies. They zoom around to the next flower or even the same one and that pollen gets shaken off onto the stigma. If the pollen is transferred onto the same flower is comes from this is called self-pollination.
If the pollen gets transferred to a completely different flower, this is called cross-pollination. Cross pollination creates plants that are genetically diverse because there are genes from different plants.
Knowing how pollination happens can help you out when fruit aren’t setting. This could be because of lack of pollinators in the garden. The usual plants to be given a helping hand when is comes to pollination are pumpkin and zucchini. Gardeners will have a go at pollinating the flowers themselves by transferring the pollen from one flower to other using a cotton bud.
For tips on hand pollination check out this post by the Pumpkin Nook.
I had an issue with a cucumber plant having loads of flowers but not developing any cucumbers. Next time I will remember that I can try pollinating the flowers myself and see how that goes.
An Ode To The Pollinators
Buzzing abounds in the veggie patch,
The frantic energy of those doing important work,
Fluttering wings carries them from flower to flower,
Little do they know they are carrying special specks,
To be transferred to a waiting environment,
Where natures magic can occur,
So we can enjoy the abundance of her bounty,
What would we do without these extraordinary creatures?
My gratitude to all the pollinators
Is your garden buzzing with the sound of pollinators? We would love to hear about it. Please share in the comments below!