Patio Gardening 2010: Week 9 – Stakes & Hand Pollinating


First, we finally uploaded the Week 8 video on Saturday, so you can watch that now at last week’s post. Sorry about the delay. We are back on track this week (though my digital camera is still in the shop, so the photos aren’t that great).

The weather lately has been cool, windy, and rainy. I don’t know what effect that has on the plants. We don’t have to water them as much, which is nice. I was worried that maybe the cooler weather would stunt plant growth, but everything seems to be growing anyway.

The tomato plants really started to shoot up this week. We stopped by the hardware store and bought some bamboo stakes to stake the cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. I have to admit, I’m getting impatient when it comes to those cherry tomatoes. I want them to start producing now, and I’m a little worried they’ll decided to start while we’re out of town in July!

The most exciting development this week was I spotted our first female flower! If you don’t know why this is significant, it’s because cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, etc) have two types of flowers, male and female. The female flower is the one that actually produces the fruit.

The way you can tell them apart is a female flower has a “swollen ovary” below the petals, which becomes the fruit after pollination. In the photo above, you can see the female flower on our cucumber plant.

These plants are insect pollinated, and since we don’t really have that many bees in Chicago, I’m doing my best to hand pollinate, though I’ve never done it before and don’t really know what I’m doing. We’ll see how it turns out.

It’s been nice to eat some of the items from our garden. We harvested a few more beans this week and picked some basil to garnish our pasta last night (plus our rabbit Barney enjoyed some fresh basil as well).

Here’s the video for the week. If it’s not showing up, you can view it here.

For those who are new, this year the boyfriend and I are doing a little container gardening experiment where we are trying to grow various herbs and vegetables on our patio. We live in the city of Chicago, so traditional gardening is out of the question. You can subscribe to the RSS feed to instantly receive the posts each week and also check out our previous posts. Feel free to subscribe to our Youtube channel as well.

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