How to hand pollinate vegetables

I  hand pollinate my veggies. The bugs in Florida are hungry and plentiful so I use screens on my vegetable beds to keep  most of them out. Pollinate 1

Cucumbers, squash and watermelon are the main veggies to hand pollinate. No need to do Tomatoes and Peppers because they are open pollinators and will self pollinate.

Here are some helpful tips on hand pollinating plants.

1. Identify the male and female flowers. It’s simple really. Females have little fruits on the stem attached to the flower while the males do not. The little fruits will not mature without pollination.

2. If there are a lot of male flowers simply pluck one from below the stem.

3. Peel back the petals to expose the pollen.

4. Find the female flower and dab the male flower lightly into the center of the female flower.

5. Let nature take its course and before you know it veggies will be growing.

Another way is use a simple soft paint brush to do the same thing. I recommend  labeling the brushes and keep them separated.


Note: Last year I got a lot of little female fruits but they never matured. I actually am more successful hand pollinating then relying on bees of which there are very little of them around anymore.   Have fun. 🙂

Update: Here is a link of some pictures from Wilson Wong in singapore on how he pollinates Cucumber plants. Vegetable gardening is global. Thanks Wilson.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shea
    Jun 27, 2010 @ 05:20:46

    The bees that normally pollinate our garden are simply not here this year and I was wondering if hand pollination would work. So thank you very much for the “how to”. 🙂


    • quickgardens
      Jun 27, 2010 @ 16:12:17

      I use hand pollination on the butternut squash or until the bees come. It usually works out. You don’t need them for tomatoes or egg plant. I just shake the bushes or use an electric toothbrush to disperse the pollen for those plants.


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