How to Hand Pollinate Squash for a Superior Harvest
Hand pollinating summer squash is easier than you might think. It's vital to have the flowers pollinated for a productive harvest. Typically this will be done by bees, butterflies, and other insects. However if you are finding that your squash are not growing well, rotting, or falling off small you might have a problem with pollination. The easiest way to pollinate squash plants for having the highest yields is by hand. The first important step is to understand that there are male flowers and female flowers. The male flowers are the ones with the long skinny stems that will not turn into fruit below the flower. Only the female flowers can bear fruit. When you look at the female flowers they should have a small tiny fruit growing below the flower and a stigma inside the center of the flower. You can pick the male flower, peel back the petals and simply touch it to the female stigma a couple of times as if you are brushing paint. Do not remove the female flower. The goal is to transfer some pollen from the male flower onto the female flower, it really is just as easy as that! The positive results you will see in your garden include more fruits per plant and an earlier harvest.