Monday, November 7, 2016

Pollinating melons and malabar spinach

After spending a couple of days at a friends open weekend showing off their eco friendly home and wildlife refuge I was back to digging and planting today. I put in a heap of corn and beans even though the weather is still cold at night. I am hoping that in about 7-10 days when they are germinating the nights will be warmer.

 We noticed a couple of days ago that the high winds a week  ago had almost pushed over this young gum tree that was shading our greenhouse. It is in a place we don't often go to so we didn't see it sooner - I don't know why it is not on the ground as the roots are pulled up and barely holding it. We are getting it pulled down in the next week as it is likely to fall on something important if we get more wind.

Too bad as it was handily shading the greenhouse and mum loved it.

I noticed last week that where I had planted the Malabar spinach last year was hundreds of young seedlings coming up. I really don't need this many so I will pot them up and take them to a market.
It looks like it could become a weed if not controlled, or if you don't harvest all the berries. Last year was the first time I had grown it so I didn't realise every left seed would grow.

I don't tend to like leafy greens but I did not that this plant was more pleasant than 'normal' spinach as it doesn't have any background bitterness.

With all the hand pollinating of melons I will be doing this year I decided to buy a heap of small brushes to do the job - I am just too rough with my fingers and end up damaging too many flowers. One for each variety.
I am hoping that using a brush might help with the setting ratio too.

I bought a heap of cheap toothbrush holders too protect the brushes so I can just leave them sitting next to each bed and there won't be any accidental cross pollinating.
Some of the brushes were too long but I just broke them off so they would fit in the holders.

I went out and used the brushes to pollinate some other flowers in the garden to make sure they hold pollen well - it was a complete success.

I already have the clips ready that I use to hold the flowers closed, and tags so I am all set for the onslaught.

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