Hand pollination is one of those tasks that despite the mutually beneficial outcome for both plant and grower, feels a little naughty. But with piece of mind that even the Pope hand pollinates, it's about time we showed you how to do it properly.
Try to remember that it is only man and woman's way of imitating nature and hand pollination is a great way of ensuring a bountiful harvest when nature is unable to do the job, so there should be no reservations about this task.
There are a number of reasons why nature can fall short. Most are the direct consequence of inclement weather, when strong winds or great rainfalls can put pollinators off their game, but more commonly and something of concern for inner city growers is a lack of pollinators in your patch (that's what she said!).
Poor pollination is a problem that affects many plants but only certain varieties can be well remedied with a bit of the old hand pollination - these include pumpkin, squash, rockmelon, watermelon - and of course our hero zucchini in this skill.
First you will need a little education on the birds and the bees so you're not fumbling around in the dark. Thankfully for first timers identifying the female and male flowers of a zucchini is relatively straightforward; the male is connected to the plant by a long, thin stem, while the female will have a miniature fruit growing in between the flower and the plant.
With flowers identified the next step is noticing when flowers are up for it; the natural window of opportunity exists when the female flower is open and the male is up for it at any time.
Start by peeling back the male flower to expose the stamen, or maybe put some nice music on first to set the mood, then peel back the flower.
With stamen exposed, take it towards the female flower and rub it all over the stigma. With that you're hand pollinating! You're doing it!
You want to make sure the flower is properly fertilised that the fruit sets, so get the job done properly. Remember you can't over pollinate a flower, so hand pollinate to your hearts content or until you get bored.