Hand Pollination
Page 2: Cucumbers and Their Kin
A Gardener's Illustrated Guide
Photos and text copyright 2001, David L. Green, All rights reserved

Do I have a pollination problem with my cukes?  With my squash?

The cucumber, has separate male and female blossoms.

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  The female, top, has the ovary at the base of the flower, which looks like a tiny cucumber. The male flower has only a short stalk. Cucumbers and their kin, squash, cantaloupes, watermelons, etc, all have separate male and female flowers. These flowers are both on the same plant. Some plants like holly, and kiwi fruit have male and female plants.

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  Simply take the swab and twirl it in the male blossoms to pick up the pollen from the anthers. Cucumber pollen is light colored so you may not be able to see it on the swab without a hand lens, but it will be there.   Now put the swab against the stigma and twirl it. Cucumbers are sufficiently self fertile that you don't have to move to separate plants, but you will likely get better results if you can move pollen from the male flower on one plant to a female flower on another plant.

  An alternative manner of cucurbit hand pollination:

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Carefully remove the petals from a male blossom, exposing the stamens.

Place the male blossom in contact with the stigma on the female blossom
and gently twirl it.