Posted by Oliver Gardner on February 02, 2014
While herbs may be easy to grow inside during the cold months of winters, I enjoy the challenge of growing a few of my favorite vegetables. Challenge might not be the right word because growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables that blossom is not difficult. These plants just have needs in addition to those of herbs. Vegetables that blossom require more light, warmer temperatures and pollination in order to bear fruit. Here’s how I provides for those needs.
I have five varieties of herbs growing in three planters on My Garden Post and two planters growing mixed salad greens. I’ve positioned MGP in front of a large south facing window and all are doing fine with a minimum of care and attention. I keep them watered as needed, fertilized every two weeks and I give MGP a 180 degree turn every few days to balance their exposure to the sun. I’m growing more herbs than I can consume so I take every opportunity to surprise friends with some for their cooking needs.
a .The male flower is noticeably smaller than the female and grows on a short stem. See photo #1.
#1 Male Cucumber blossom growing on a short stem
b. The female flower is the larger and grows on a longer stem that resembles a tiny cucumber, the ovary. See photo #2.
#2 Female cucumber blossoms growing on a long stem that becomes a cucumber when pollinated
2. Using a small artist’s paintbrush, carefully collect the grains of pollen from the stamen of the male flower and deposit them in the center of the female flower. Take care not to damage the female flower. You could repeat this process to make sure you have conception. Then you just leave them alone and watch the tiny cucumbers grow. See photo #3
#3 A pollinated female cucumber blossom well on its way to producing a mature fruit. (Pollinated 2 weeks ago)
You will likely have at least one male flower for each female. Continue doing the work of the bees with your paint brush until all the female flowers have been pollinated. As more flowers appear, repeat the process.
Until then, your questions and comments are always appreciated. Oliver