Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Melons in Bloom
My cantaloupe and french melons have erupted in blooms. The pretty yellow flowers are attracting tons of beneficial insects to the garden. I was in the melon patch yesterday hand-pollinating the female flowers and the bumblebees and honeybees were buzzing all around me. It was quite a sight. I like to hand-pollinate my melons, squashes and citrus trees to ensure pollination. Pictured above is a male flower on an Athena cantaloupe vine.
As you can see, it's pretty easy to distinguish between it and the female flower (above), which has a green center as opposed to a yellow one.
The female flower also has a noticeable ovary the size of a jellybean at the base.
Yesterday, I also spotted the first cucumber beetles of the summer. Last year, my melon, zucchini and cucumber vines all died prematurely from bacterial wilt, which is an untreatable disease spread by the beetles. The beetles also steal the pollen and chew up the leaves. Tonight, after the bees have retired for the evening, I will spray all of my vines with pyrethrin. Hopefully, this will control their numbers this year.