"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let's Talk about the Birds and the Bees

Kathleen and Josh have an amazing greenhouse this summer.
No matter the weather outdoors
(and much of it has been cold and rainy),
the atmosphere inside the greenhouse is warm, humid
and so earthy smelling.  Ahhhhhh!
I just want to get a chair and camp out in there!

One thing NOT in said greenhouse is a bumble bee.
Those useful creatures that buzz from flower to flower,
collecting pollen and, in turn, pollinating the plants.
I had never thought of it before, though I have been a gardener for...
 well, let's say many, many years!
But my gardens had always been outdoors 
with the wind, rain, birds and bees.

Inside, though, things were progressing differently.
We watched the plants grow tall
and green
and full of blossoms.
But, no little tomatoes were growing.
We were stumped!

We started asking successful Alaskan greenhouse gardeners and learned
that tomatoes are self pollinators.  But, to initiate this amazing skill,
the plants need to be shaken up, or blown, or rattled.
Josh put a fan inside and Kathleen and I began to give a vigorous shake
to each stem as we walked up and down the row.
And, what do your know?
It worked!!!

The cucumbers were another thing, however.
They are NOT self pollinators but need a dating service
to get results.

You see, it turns out there are "boy" flowers:

and cute little "girl" flowers with a tiny cucumber attached.
Sadly, that wee cuke will just die off with the flower unless
she is introduced to a nice looking boy blossom.

That's where I put come in!
I put on a yellow suit, strap on a pair or wings and begin buzzing around,
q-tip in hand.
"Buzzzzz-have I found a nice girl for you!"
"Buzzzzzzz-this boy is the neatest shade of yellow, my dear!"
"You'll be a perfect match! Buzz-buzz."

And, ta-da!
The pair got along famously, wouldn't you agree?

What was that?  This isn't exactly what you'd been expecting
to read on today's blog?
What on earth could you have been thinking?

1 comment:

  1. And thanks to your wonderful purchase of new paint brushes, to replace the q-tip idea, the cucumbers are growing great. I will admit though that next year I will plant the bread that doesn't need all of this dating service. A little too high maintenance and drama for me.