I'm not the most successful squash farmer. Many of my plants refuse to produce viable fruit, despite my attempts to nurture them with compost and deep, infrequent watering. So, now that a few of my summer squash are finally producing female blossoms, I've decided to help out with the whole pollination process.
My intervention is probably unnecessary because the bees in my yard find the big yellow squash blossoms quite intoxicating. Look at this guy with his whole body inside a male Potimarron squash flower. He was in there for ages, practically rolling around in the pollen.
Still, a gardener can't be too careful. So, I'm doing a little human-assisted pollinating to boost my chances for some harvestable squash.
Growing up, my dad and I favored the Q-tip method of pollination. As you might have guessed, you just take a Q-tip, swipe it inside a male flower and then rub the collected pollen onto the female flower. The technique always worked well for us, but these days I usually use an even easier method. I pick a male flower, peel off its petals and then rub the exposed stamen inside the female flower. Pollen is transferred, and I don't have anything to throw away since I can just drop the used male flower on the ground to decompose.
I suppose it's a bit harsh to rip apart a male blossom like that, but, well, I'm just helping them do their job.
Despite the fact that it's August, I have yet to harvest a fully-formed squash from my garden this year. (Embarrassing, I know.) Perhaps with my pollination methods, and a little luck, I'll get one or two nice summer squash this year. I don't think that's too much to ask.