I was outside earlier, watering the garden, and noticed lots more flowers on the mini rockmelons.
After putting away the hose, I went back for another look.
Plenty of male flowers, a few female flowers.
Since the previous females had yellowed and dropped, I didn't want to take the chance that these new ones had maybe been pollinated by bees or ants, so I got my tiniest paintbrush and twirled it inside a couple of the male flowers, collecting the faintest smudge of pollen on the tip, then twirled that inside a female flower.
I repeated this for all the female flowers I could see.
They're easy enough to spot, the petals are larger and paler than the males.
Did you all know that those tiny hairs on the stems and leaves prickle and sting? I didn't, but I do now.
I hope I've done the right thing with the flowers. I'll know soon enough if the fruit starts developing.
The pumpkin flowers had all closed for the night, so I'll have to check earlier tomorrow to see if any of them are females.
I have quite a bit of pollen from the males in a glass jar and I don't know if it should be used quickly or if it will last for a while before becoming ineffective.
I'm going to email one of our local garden experts tomorrow and ask him. He writes a gardening column for our local free newspaper.
1 hour ago