This year I decided to put on my green thumb. We live in a small apartment with a balcony, so I purchased several planters and got to work. There are now four cucumber plants growing in one planter not nearly big enough to hold them. I added a trellis, and the vines are growing on it every which way. By now I’m sure you can tell that I really don’t know what I’m doing.
About three weeks ago, I noticed what looked like tiny little cucumbers growing on my plants. But they were shriveled up and clearly dying. I finally started researching cucumber plants online and realized that cucumbers have to be pollinated in order to fruit. In a perfect gardening world, little bees would land on my cucumber plants. They’d visit the male flowers and get pollen stuck to their little bee legs. Then they’d fly to the female flowers and in the process, leave the male pollen there. Only, it wasn’t happening. Well, one bee made it up to my balcony. Because I had one large, juicy, delicious, lone cucumber growing. Just one. The solution? Hand-pollination.
Hand pollinating your cucumber plants is pretty simple. The female flowers are all by themselves and are growing at the tip of a mini cucumber. The male flowers hang out in clusters. Take a Q-tip (or a paintbrush) and brush it inside a male flower. The pollen will stick right to the Q-tip, and the tip should be yellow. Then place it gently inside the female flower and brush the inside. That’s it!
Some photos of the process: