Avenue Homesteader

Guest Post: Avenue Homesteader

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Editor’s Note:I recently discovered a wonderful blog called Avenue Homesteader. Carissa Halton writes about her experiences with green local living in Edmonton’s Alberta Avenue area. I love her focus on food production and community efforts in the area. Carissa has generously offered up a guest post for Green Edmonton readers:

Cross-posted from http://avenuehomesteader.blogspot.com/:

For members of my household who love pumpkin pie and butternut stew, 2009 was a disappointing year. Total number of winter squash: 2. I gleaned one Buttercup and another Spaghetti squash from six large plants. It was a lot of green square footage producing a whole lot of nothing.

After some sleuthing and input from my squash-crazy sister-in-law, we’ve deducted a pollination problem. In 2009, I had plenty of flowers and the fruit would look like it was growing then instead yellow and die.

This year, I have taken matters into my own hands and started playing ‘Birds and Bees’. The first thing to surprise me was the sheer number of available male flowers and the woeful number of willing female compatriots. The ladies are more inclined to draw their virginal petals up demurely around their centre and remain like this most of the day. In my patch, fruit-making action happens exclusively in the mornings.

So if you share my problem, or skipped the Bio class where they taught this stuff, here’s how you can increase the conception rates in your squash patch:

1. First, figure out who’s female and male. The female flowers blooms from what appears to be a miniature squash. They look like they’re growing from a new fruit while the male flower buds burst from a long, narrow stem.  read more... »