There’s a man drought here and I don’t know what to do. I don’t think eHarmony has the answer, nor RSVP. This particular man drought has struck in the vegie patch, where my yellow button squash are producing nothing but female flowers. I have five plants and they are all laden with flowers but there’s no maturing fruit.
When a male bloom burst open on the nearby butternut pumpkin I used the pollen on the female squash flowers in a bid for cross-pollination. The two plants are closely related and I felt it should work, but so far I’ve had no success – although that could be down to the heavy rain.
I have read it is possible to keep pollen from male flowers by storing it in the fridge so I am planning that as insurance against future man droughts. In the meantime, while I eagerly anticipate a male bloom, I am not letting that immature fruit go to waste. I am harvesting the tiny fruitlets and lightly steaming them as a vegie. They add colour if not much else to the dinner plate.
Growing edible plants is a real roller coaster as I am sure gardeners are discovering. And no two years seems to bring the same results.
This year for example we had no peach leaf curl on the peaches but also no fruit. Flowering was poor, fruit set even poorer and what did set, was eaten by fruit bats long before it became mature.
Back in the vegie patch cucumbers, tomatoes and rainbow chard have all been prolific as has the rocket, basil and oregano, but I had a disaster with the climbing beans. I think a rat was eating the small beans and flowers as the vines produced nothing at all then, after the recent heatwave followed by heavy rain, they gave up dropping all their leaves. I pulled them out and I am trying again with bush bean.
The lettuce also got off to a rocky start. It was slow to germinate and then the first crop became rabbit food. On about I think the third attempt however it grew and prospered and we’ve been eating lots of lovely lettuce.
Oh, and as a bit of a postscript there’s something else interesting happening with the squash. Early on yellow ladybirds appeared among the plants. They appear to be thriving on the powdery mildew on the foliage. They are a great example of biological control at work.