Wednesday, July 8

Garden Pic Wednesday: Squash & Melon Leaf Idenification

I planted my melon & squash seeds myself, so I know what's in my garden, but sometimes--especially if you're augmenting your garden soil from a mulch pile--you get surprise guests. This happened to a find a mine and though I can tell by the leaves & blossoms it's a vining type of squash, I'm eager to see exactly what it might be. Pumpkin? Butternut? Acorn?

So today's Garden Pic's are pictures of various squash & melon leaves and blossoms, so you can tell what's what. 

Whether a vine
or a bush, winter or summer, squash generally have large, well defined leaves such as this.

(This particular shot is a bush Zuchinni)
Summer squash ripen quickly, winter takes longer. Pumpkin takes 100 days from sprout to fruit.

Squash Blossoms:

Are distinctively large and bright yellow-orange in color.
They are male & female, with the male appearing first and the female later.
Female blossoms have a fruit behind them.

Melon leaves, such as  Cantelope, Honeydew, Canary and the like have are a rounder, softer shape leaf.
(This shot is a Canary called "Amy Melon.)

Watermelon has a leaf style so distinctive it's hard to miss.
Very deeply cut and lobed.
(This one is from a seed I saved from a purchased watermelon that was small in sized with a very beautiful pattern.)

Most Melons take between 80 to 100 days to mature depending on type.

Melon Blossoms:
These are generally small & yellow. They come male and female, with the male appearing first and female later.
Female blossoms have a fruit behind them. 

Cucumber leaves have a somewhat triangular in shape. Note the sharp end point.
Cucumber blossoms are small and yellow similar to melon.

(I'm not growing cucumber, though I have. This is a photo I found online.) Cuc's come in both bush & vine breeds.

A trick you should know about squash & melons, particularly if you're wondering why you're not seeing any fruit, is you need to take a small paint brush or Q-tip and go out in the morning and be your own "bee," and fertilize the flowers yourself.
 Just brush the stamens of the male blossom with the brush or Q-tip, then brush that onto the female stamens.

It helps to grow good-bee attracting flowers near your garden, such as Zinnia's, Marigolds, even herbs like basil & oregano,etc.

Melon & squash farmers hire beekeepers to bring bees to their fields. That's how they get it done.

That's it for today! Stop back for Mama Kat tomorrow!

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