Cucumber. How to identifying male and female flowers.

August 18, 2008
Cucumber flowers
Cucumber flowers

Behind the bright yellow female flower is a miniature cucumber.

Female cucumber flower

Female cucumber flower

For indoor varieties you do want to pick off the male flowers otherwise your developing cucumber to be pollinated by the male flower and the cucumber will taste bitter and not very pleasant.

 

 

Outdoor varieties known as Cucirbit need both male and female flowers to produce fruit, so don’t pick off the male flowers.

Male cucumber

Male cucumber

The male flower is also bright yellow and grows close to the stem and only has a thin stalk. For indoor varieties the male flowers should be removed as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of fertilising the female flower on the developing cucumber fruit.

Male cucumber flower

Male cucumber flower

Cucumber flower pollination by bumblebee

Cucumber pollination by bumblebee

The Bumblebee visits a male cucirbit cucumber flower to collect pollen.

Bumblebee pollinating a female cucumber flower

Bumblebee pollinating a female cucumber flower

When the bee then enters the female flower, some of the pollen is transfered to the stigma which fertilizes the flower.

The cucumber fruits will swell and hang down as it grows, so provide support and enough space for the cucumbers to grow.

Cucumber growing

Cucumber growing
To grow.

 

 

 

Sow the seeds in February or early March. Plant the see edgeways in 1cm deep in seed compost.

Plant on in John Innes compost No 3 in large pots or growbags

Cucumbers like moister conditions compared to Tomatoes

Planting to harvesting takes about 12 weeks

Indoor vatieties:- F1 Hana, Burpless Tasty Green, Crystal Apple. Luxury, Masterpiece, Zeina

Cucurbit Outdoor varieties:- Crystal Lemon, Bedfordshire Prize, King of the ridge, Puree Hybrid, Zeppelin, Patio Pik, Long white Paris, Japanese varieties, Kyoto, Tokyo slicer

Photography Neil Bromhall.  www.complete-gardens.co.uk

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Courgette how to identify male and female flowers

August 18, 2008

Courgette flowers male and female
Male and female courgette flowers

 

 

 Courgette flowers. Male pollen and female stigma

The female has a miniature courgette fruit at its base of the flower whereas the male doesn’t.

The flowers have been cut to expose the male pollen and female stigma.

 In rainy weather, the courgettes can fail to form due to a lack of insects needed to pollinate the female flower.

You can dab the pollen from the male flower on to the stigma of the female flower. The flowers have been cut open to expose the male pollen and the female stigma. The female flower will need to be open to be pollinated. This photograph is of an immature female flower which has not opened yet.

Photography Neil Bromhall www.complete-gardens.co.uk


Tomato blight on leaf

August 17, 2008

Early sign of tomato blight on leaf

The leaf shows the early signs of tomato blight.

Cut the infected leaves off and destroy.

Give your plants a uniform supply of water.

Do not over water then leave the plant dry for any period.


Tomato blossom end rot identification

August 16, 2008
First signs of tomato blossom end rot

First signs of tomato blossom end rot

The disease, Tomato blossom end rot first appears as small brown spot at the bottom of an immature fruit. A secondary infection then spreads deeper in to the fruit.

There is no cure for blossom end rot, so remove the infected fruit and destroy teh. If left on the plant they will weaken the plant and spread the disease. Best not put your infected fruin in your compost heap as the fungal spores can be spread.

Blossom end rot is caused mostly by irregular watering or fluctuations in moisture and or by too little calcium in the soil.

Best to water regularly (in the evening to reduce water loss)

Don’t use excessive nitrogen fertilization.


Courgette blossom end rot

August 16, 2008
Courgette blossom end rot

Courgette blossom end rot

Advanced blossom end rot

Advanced blossom end rot

Courgettes can often fail due to wet weather conditions.

The reason is there aren’t as many insects around in wet conditions to pollinate the flowers and as a result the fruits fail to develop properly.

The flowers get damp and the resulting rot spreads into the fruit.

This is only a temporary problem and the crop will improve once the weather improves.

In poor wet conditions you can pollinate the female flowers rather than rely on insects to do it.

Dab the pollen from the male flower on to the female stigma. The female flower has a miniature fruit at it’s base.

After pollination and the baby courgette starts to grow, remove the old shrivelled-up flower to prevent blossom end rot, especially if the wet conditions continue.

Remove any spoilt fruit as they will be taking energy from the plant and other developing fruits. 

If grown in a greenhouse, open the windows and door to allow plenty of ventilation to circulate. And for insects to enter and leave.

Photography Neil Bromhall http://www.complete-gardens.co.uk


Balcony plants. Interactive plant database with photographs

August 15, 2008
Balcony plants

Balcony plants

If you want to know  which plants can be grown on a balcony, the Complete Gardens plant finder, advice and pruning guide can help.

We have several hundred plants on our interactive plant database to help you choose the best ones for you. Each plant on the CD-ROm is accompanied with high resolution images plus accompanying plant care advice.

On a trip to France I was very impressed by this block of flats. In the large troughs they have shrubs growing hapily.


Free Garden advice Forum

August 15, 2008
Free Garden AdviceForum

Free Garden AdviceForum

The Free Complete Gardens Advice Forum continues to grow.

Based in the UK and running since 2003, our friendly group of garden enthusaists can help answer a wide range of subjects from plant identification, growing vegetables, garden pests and diseases to tried and tested garden tools or even suggest nice gardens to visit.

The forum is free and easy to join.

You can add images, ask questions or share your expertise.

There are Links to other interesting garden related blogs and websites

The leading contributors are awarded a free copy of the Award winning interactive garden advice and pruning guide CD-ROM as a ‘thank you’ for generously providing their time and expertise.

The forum is monitored for spam and content.

If you want some interesting gardening ideas or advice then please feel free to join us.