Squash and Cross Pollination

Growing Food, Organic Gardening
Summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins and gourds belong to the Cucurbita family. Members of this family may cross-pollinate with each other. (Insects can bring pollen from other plants to female flowers.) However, the first year of a cross, the resulting fruit is completely normal looking and tasting. Only the end result seed carries the crossed gene. So, if you saved the seed and planted it the following year, you might get something strange as a result. If you are growing plants to eat the fruit, you do not have to worry about cross-pollination in your home garden. More... [caption id="attachment_3869" align="alignright" width="350"] Squash, summer squash, and assorted veggies[/caption] Grow Your Own Food How are beans pollinated? Watermelons and Cross Pollination
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Watermelons and Cross Pollination

Growing Food, Organic Gardening
Do you have to separate watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) from other types of melons to keep them from cross-pollinating? No, other types of melons like cantaloupes or honeydew (Cucumis melo), and cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) can all be grown close together without fear of crossing. However, each of these items will cross within their own species. So, if you wanted to save seeds from the fruit to plant next year, you would need to separate different varieties of watermelon from each other (or different varieties of melons or different varieties of cucumbers). When a cross does happen between two varieties within the same species, the resulting fruit that year is completely normal looking and tasting. Only the resulting seed carries the crossed gene. So, if you saved the seed and planted it…
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Blossom End Rot

Organic Gardening, Organic Pest & Disease Control
Tomatoes grown in containers and indeterminate (vining) heirloom tomatoes can be more susceptible to Blossom End Rot (BER) that is caused by an inability to adequately uptake calcium from the soil. This condition is more likely caused by fluctuating moisture levels rather than a deficiency of calcium in the soil. But, it can also be caused by an excess of nitrogen, a pH out of range of 6.5 (ideal for calcium uptake), or water logged roots that don't have proper drainage. If your fruit begins to get the telltale tan to brownish spots on the bottom, pick off and discard the affected tomatoes. Then make sure the plants are well mulched with dried grass clippings, straw, black or red plastic, or an extra layer of finished compost to reduce moisture…
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How are beans pollinated?

Growing Food, Organic Gardening
Do you want to save your own bean seeds for growing next year? Do you want to re-grow the same fabulous beans next year that you grew this year? It may not be as easy to do with any other plant than the "bean bunch"... ya know why? Beans are self-pollinating and rarely pollinated by insects. Bean flowers release pollen the night before the flowers open. The next day, as the flowers open, the anthers brush against the stigma and pollination occurs. So, even if you see insects on your open bean flowers, you can be fairly sure that pollination happened before the visitors arrived. For this reason, it is possible to grow bean varieties close together with little worry of cross-pollination if you are planning to save some of…
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May Garden Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Year Round Gardening
Wow... May already. Where did the time go? The gardening calendar for May provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores. As I mentioned in the last calendar update, April and May, about growing organic food, more people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you.... it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. Okay, okay, I said all that last month, I realize, but if you are far north, you are still waiting.... I realize.  So you northerners (I'm in zone…
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