Until this year I did not realise that pumpkins had two types of flowers. yes I knew their cousin zucchini had 2 types but it never crossed my mind that pumpkins would too. This is my second year with pumpkins growing, last year I didn’t take a close look at the flowers, but this year I did.
I also planted Gramma which is another relative of pumpkin, mainly used for Gramma Pie. My other pumpkin vine is a butternut and one of those is almost ripe.
The first flowers I saw on my pumpkin were tall and upright on thin stems so I got excited and thought I would soon have pumpkins. I waited and waited and nothing happened, they just wilted and died.
Then after about 5 weeks and the vines getting longer I noticed a flower low down with a swelling on the base and the flower closed. Pumpkin!! I promptly took a photo. The next day I went out to check it again and it had dropped off. But I found another one. So I scurried in to consult Aunty Google and discovered that the males always show up first. The females show up when the vine hits a certain length (about 3meters) the first one or two may abort. There are always more males than females and if you want to breed true to type only have one kind growing with in 2 km. Much like chillies they cross breed very easily.
I have to hand pollinate as bees are practically non existent in my neighbourhood. Over summer I think I may have seen about 5. I use a cotton swab and pretend like a bee, visit the boy then visit the girl.
I hope that the one in the photo above is a Gramma as it has been too long between Gramma pies. If I do have success with it I will do a post about Gramma Pie but it looks like it may be a little way off. The flower part has dropped off today and it looks a little bigger.
My first butternut probably has another three or four weeks of ripening to do before it will be ready to pick. Full size has been reached and the skin has started to change colour.
I have to thank one of my high school classmates, Julianne Turner, for supplying me with the Gramma Seeds.
Will post more from my garden in the future and will let you know how my pumpkins/gramma are going.
Thanks for dropping by!!