One of the reasons for hand pollinating is to
get a pumpkin set as early in the season as possible. However, the primary reason is to be
sure about the parentage of the seeds that will come out of the pumpkin when it is harvested.
If blossoms are left to the bees and other insects you can never be sure what type of cross
it will yield. Here are some steps to follow when hand pollinating:
- The first step is to identify a female blossom the day before it will open.
- Cover both the male and female blossoms the night before the morning you expect them
to open. You can use plastic bags with holes in them or cheesecloth.
- This side by side comparison displays the difference between the insides of a male and female flower.
- With the bag removed, this female is now ready for pollination. Don't let any bees in!
- Prepare the male flower by gently removing the blossom taking care that you do not damage any of the pollen.
- Uncover the female blossom and lightly brush the inside of the female with the male.
- Cover the female blossom again to prevent bees from entering.