We’ve covered the fact that our gardens are essentially a botanical brothel. There is enough flower power sex going on in our yards to make Jenna Jameson blush. But, there is one kind of plant in the vegetable garden that is like a nightclub without a cover charge, age limit and free drinks for the ladies and that is the Cucurbits (kind of like the Kardashians, but without the money and thinly veiled poor taste).
Cucurbits are a family of plants that include melons, cucumbers and squash. They produce flowers that are either male or female. And just like a nightclub (at least the straight variety) where things don’t really get going well unless you have a little bit of both the XX and XY action going on.
But, there is a reason that nightclubs have ladies’ nights (and free libations for them). Â Because the male of the species is a bit more motivated in the sexual area than the female. Ever go to a nightclub early in the evening?Â You will look around and you will see a dozen or so over eager guys sitting around waiting for the action to begin. Yes, the guys are losers and clueless, but there they are. Sipping drinks, eyeing the competition, perhaps sipping a bit more quickly than they should due to the need to build up some courage. Next thing you know, the ground is littered with drunk guys about 2 minutes before the ladies make their grand entrance.
Your cucurbits are no different.
Many male blossoms show up early. Too early to really catch the wave of women flowers coming their way, they normally fall to the ground, spent and useless and mumbling something about an ex-girl blossom they need to call right now.
Shortly after this, all the single lady blossoms show up, the cooler, more suave male flowers saunter in, and you have a bona fide cucurbit orgy going on in your garden. (This will explain the teeny-tiny popcorn boxes you see next to your tomato and lettuce plants. They are just enjoying the free show.)
I think one of the most common questions I answer at my other job at this time of year is “Help! All the flowers on my squash are falling off (or are being eaten, and a spent male blossom does look like it has been bitten off). How can I stop it?â€Â You can’t. You just have to wait for the pretty ladies to appear, and as we all know, we ladies like to take our time and make a fashionably late entrance.
Note:Â if you are looking for something to do with your loser male blossoms, you can make a tasty treat out of them, so that they don’t get completely wasted (and start the pathetic drunk dialing).