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7 messages
25/08/2013 at 20:11

Can anyone advise? The Gem Squash is grown a lot in South Africa - and my fave veg!! I found seed on Amazon, and after much nuturing and pampering have 2 plants which have grown very well - thank you warm summer

However, I have only had 2 fruits - plenty flowers, no fruits. I dont understand the male/female flower thing though   My veg garden this year has been awsome, lots of bees around, I have moonbeam squash and they are full of fruit and devine.

 

Any ideas?

26/08/2013 at 13:29

Sounds like a lack of pollination.

You can hand pollinate to overcome the problem. Here are the male and female flowers. Probably not of your variety but they're basically the same across the board.

Male on the left. Female on the right on the end of what looks like miniature fruit. It's actually an ovary that, when pollinated, will grow into a fruit.

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/29936.jpg?width=194&height=259&mode=max

 

Both flowers open in the morning and will often close again during the day. Once closed, they don't open again. The female flowers have to be pollinated while open so it can mean getting up early.

Remove a male flower from the vine, stem and all. Carefully remove the yellow petals to expose the stamen inside. It will be coated in pollen.

This is roughly what the female flower will look like inside. That's the stigma in the centre:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/29937.jpg?width=218&height=231&mode=max

 

Brush the stamen against the stigma to transfer the pollen. Don't be too vigorous. Damage the stigma and odds are you won't get fruit.

It's a pretty simple process and good fun!

 

28/08/2013 at 20:25

 Thank you so much - really appreciate your feedback

 

29/08/2013 at 09:25

Khakibos,you have just taken me back over 25 years! We used to eat gemsquash when we lived in Zambia - we loved them. I wouldn't have thought you could grow them here - let us know how you get on. I may see if I can find some seed for next year

15/09/2013 at 20:55

Kathy 2 Im sure the lovey hot summer this year has helped - my two plants have so far  given me 6 beauts, and 2 still on the plant -  for me its well worth it , and I will def try again next year!!!

What part of the UK do you live in, as Im sure the further south you are, the better the chance of a crop.

16/09/2013 at 10:37

I wonder why you can't buy them in the shops? Glad you enjoyed them. We live west of Manchester so probably not warm or sheltered enough. 

22/09/2013 at 14:35

I have ever only found them is one of the most expensive supermarkets, that why I am determined to grow them - and its just not a known veg here. At least I had some this year, so will def make the effort next year.

To help the seeds germinate I cut off coke bottles, and used them to cover the seed until growing and the plants strong. I germinated them indoors, then moved them into a cold frame to harden, before finaly planting out - but still kept the bottles over them   for some time. Im north of Leicester so you should have some luck.

 

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