I wrote an entire article about “helicopter gardening” as I fondly call it, during a time when I was frustrated about my versus my husband’s parenting style. It turned into a totally humorous satire piece about society at large placing judgment on mothers. I sent the piece into the New York Times of all places and have yet to hear back. They’ll be calling any day now, I’m sure of it.
I had to find a way to process the tension between loving something so much that you want to hold it closely and constantly, yet also knowing that loving something so much means letting it grow on its own. I’m a nurturer, a pleaser, an anticipate-the-needser, and as a mother this can make me a little overly cautious at times. I was overly cautious child as well, so it’s just in the blood. I remember seeing other kids run down hills, while I scooted slowly and surely on my rear. Or going on wild jeep rides with family friends through the hills, and everyone is standing with their hair whipping in the wind as the vehicle jumps over logs and careens around oak trees, while I sat white knuckling the dashboard with a seat belt on.
In the garden, I can be as over the top as I want. I can totally suffocate my plants with attention and it hurts no one. Someday, when my very funny helicopter gardening piece comes out, you’ll get to read about my philosophy on this.
In the meantime, I’ll teach you how to hand-pollinate squash because that’s what you do when you want to interfere with the lives of your plants and hover over them like a crazy woman, all in an effort to NOT hover over your children or husband or dog or self.
The gist is this:
Use a small paint brush to get some pollen from an open male squash blossom’s stamen (you’ll know it’s male because there is no fruit attached, just a stem below the flower) and place it onto the pistil of the female flower. And then you’re done.
I KNOW, it’s crazy easy.
- Do this in the morning, as that is when the flowers are open.
- Use a small paint brush instead of your fingers or a q-tip.
- This can be done with any type of squash
We do this to help prevent blossom-end rot, and so that your veggie will grow. helps keep your plant happy and healthy.