Pollinating pumpkins

And other Cucurbits like zucchini, marrow and cucumber.

By Penny Woodward

Rare orange French pumpkin with chestnut flavour

Heirloom French pumpkin Potimarron

Pumpkins, zucchini, marrows and cucumbers need bees to pollinate their flowers before the fuit will set and start to grow. These plants all have male and female flowers and the bees need to fly into the male flowers, collect the pollen while feeding on nectar and then carry the pollen to the female flower. If this doesn’t happen then the little pumpkin (or zucchini or cucumber or marrow) that has started forming at the base of the female flower, will yellow and fall off. Read more

Powdery mildew on zucchini and pumpkins

A cornucopia of produce

I’ve had a cornucopia of cucurbits this year, with lots of ‘Black Beauty’ zucchini and and bright yellow button squash. The pumpkins are not producing as prolifically because I planted them in an out of the way position with not enough sun, but the plants are still growing and the pumpkins are getting bigger. Unfortunately, for the last few weeks the powdery mildew has also been growing. Powdery mildew is a fungus that attacks cucurbits (zucchini, marrow, pumpkin, cucumber etc) and grapevines, some fruit trees and a range of other plants including begonias and roses. It first appears as pale grey spots on the surface of leaves, spreading to cover the whole leaf and stem. If untreated, eventually the whole plant will shrivel, brown and die. Powdery mildew is most prevalent in moderately dry regions, when the weather starts to cool in autumn and where water sits on foliage for long periods. Almost counterintuitively, it is less likely to be a problem in wet weather as well as very hot, dry weather.

 

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Vegies A-Z

Organic Gardener’s Essential Guide: Vegies A – Z

Rising costs have combined with anxiety about food security to create a critical moment for people considering growing their own food. Right on cue is “Vegies A-Z”. It’s the third OG special (after Getting Started, $10.00, and Fruit, $10.00). Vegies A-Z combines new material with recent OG articles from reliable writers. My quibble with this third volume is that there is not more on soil preparation, which is crucial. Perhaps that’s in Getting Started? Perhaps the three volumes need to be read seriatum, and would make a great gift, possibly to yourself. PW is a major contributor. — AMS.
Note: There is more on soil preparation in Getting Started which is unfortunately currently out of print. A reprint is planned for later this year
Borrow a copy from your library, buy one from your local newsagent or go to the store on this website and buy a copy online

  • All words and images © Copyright Penny Woodward 2018.
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