Thursday, October 28, 2010

october 2, 2010 - sexing the squash flower

 After the warmth and sunshine of the previous weekend, the overcast and windy morning of October 2 threatened to be dispiriting. The garden initially appeared drab, but eventually yielded color to the determined eye.
Almost all of our plants were still producing. The volunteers and clients at the pantry are surprised that we can still bring them tomatoes and peppers. We gardeners are surprised at the number of green beans that we continue to harvest, from plants that were established almost as an afterthought in a bed from which we had removed earlier plants mid-season.

While I delivered the delivery, other volunteers prepared the garden for high winds that were predicted later in the day. Later, while Michael turned our compost beds, Susan led the other volunteers in stringing up herbs to dry in the garden shed. In a few weeks, we’ll stem and crush the dried sage and oregano leaves. If we are ambitious enough, we might even make little bouquets garni to donate to the pantry.

It is usually easier to turn the compost if you're standing in the bin.

When I returned, the others were ready to call it a day. Dee asked whether she could take home some of the flowers from our squash bed. When I mentioned that I thought that we might still get a few more squash before we had to pull up the bed for winter, Dee replied that she only planned to take the male flowers. This was how I learned that squash flowers are gendered: the female flowers are the ones with the bulbs that become the squash fruit.

Male squash blossom
Female squash blossom. The smaller bulb at the base 
of the flower will become the squash.