Posted by: Silver | August 4, 2010

Sex and the Zucchini

Doubtless I shall disappoint many of you who have been waiting with baited breath since my last mention of zucchini sex, but we’re actually talking pollination here. And not just zucchinis either. Everything in the Yukon garden is blooming right now, and everything has its own pollination proclivities, so learning how to satisfy the needs of my various charges has been a feature of almost all my placements so far. But zucchinis were my first, so I suppose they will always have a special place in my heart. They’re also one of the nicer plants to pollinate, as their flowers are big and their pollen obvious, so you’re never in any doubt about whether or not the lady flower has been satisfied, or whether or not the gentleman flower still has anything left in him to give (zucchinis, like cucumbers, produce separate male and female flowers). Of course, these things are never entirely so straightforward, and zucchinis have their complications too: the flowers tend only to be open in the morning, and apparently only last for a single day, so if you fail to remember to tend to their needs exactly when they are receptive to such advances, you may find you have missed your chance altogether. Most zucchinis also clothe themselves in off-putting little spines, so you must be suitably dedicated to your cause (and suitably delicate) in order to venture past these defences and bring the two sexes together. Cucumbers are also annoyingly prickly, with the added disadvantage that their flowers (and pollen) are also much smaller: here, one must get creative with the use of a paintbrush or feather to ensure satisfaction. Tomatoes, on the other hand, require only a few gentle taps of their trunk to bring about the desired outcome (although some people apparently still prefer introducing a feather into the proceedings here as well), whilst green beans are entirely happy to just take care of themselves.

Naturally, just as one must ensure that pollination is achieved in the absence of a reliable greenhouse-loving bee popluation, one must also ensure that work is not duplicated, and so it was nothing other than helpful and informative for my host to emerge from the greenhouse one morning and loudly proclaim, “The zucchini have had sex today”; the immediate response from my colleague on the other side of the garden was equally informative in its way: “I’m glad someone has…”

This is what happens if your zucchini don't get enough sex...



  1. *Giggles* I’ll have to remember all that with my own plants – tending to them will never be the same again! 😉

  2. No, not disappointed at all – quite fascinated in fact, especially by one or two similarities to human traits there seem to be.
    One thing though, how on earth did they manage before we (or you) came along to help? They must have somehow, perhaps a bit more haphazardly (like humans?).
    So some people “still” prefer using feathers to help the tomatoes along – for some of us in our naivety and ignorance this is an entirely new concept!
    Will ponder…Cheers, John.

    • Well, before we came along to ‘help’, zucchinis happily grew in their own convivial climate, and relied on the local insect population to service their needs. Then we decided it’d be a really good idea to try and grow them at 64 degrees North, stuck them in a greenhouse, and made a whole new occupation for ourselves….

      (Incidentally, the ‘still’ merely referred to a continuation from the cucumber technique… 😉 )

  3. hahahahahaha – awesome 🙂

  4. Good to see that the Canadians and Zucchinis (in the west) are so good at this! Montreal, now how are they with the courgettes? In another life, a long,long time ago I too, raised Zucchini…. but let the bees do all the work. It didn’t take long before the Zucchinis took over the garden!!!

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