Pollination allows plants to produce fruit and keep reproducing. It is specifically the fertilization process in plants, which can happen by wind, animals, and self-pollinating plants.

What are pollinators?

  • Pollinators are animals and insects that help the pollination process in plants. Common pollinators are bees, butterflies, moths, flies, ladybugs, and wasps. Without pollinators, we would not be able to have fruits or vegetables. This is why we need to care for our environment and the ecosystem of our gardens to be a safe and habitable place for pollinators to visit.

How does pollination work?

  • There are male (stamen) and female (pistil) parts in plants that are both needed to complete the pollination process. Stamen creates pollen which is then taken to the pistil to reproduce. Pollen is taken over by pollinators from the stamen to the pistil to complete the cycle. This can look like seeds for future generations of plants or is what causes vegetables to grow!
  • The seeds in your kit that require pollination are squash, cucumber, and tomato. This is because these plants are bearing fruit. If a plant is not meant to produce fruit and is a root or is eaten for its leafy greens, it does not need pollination to survive. Your spinach, radish, and basil seeds will not need pollination to grow.

To encourage more pollinators to visit your garden, it is best to plant species that are native to your area near your garden. You can find lists of pollinator-friendly native plants below to discover what plants are best for your environment.

Pollinator-Friendly Native Plants

Vegetables will only grow from female flowers after they have been pollinated by male flowers. You can tell if your flowers are male or female simply by examining them. In squash, male flowers will have long green stems that sprout outwards from the plant. Female squash flowers will be shorter and in the middle of the plant.

Hand Pollination

  • Due to weather conditions or environmental issues, pollination may need to be done by hand in your garden. Lacking pollination can result in your vegetables looking misshapen, or you have flowers but no fruit on your plants. To hand pollinate, carefully use a small paintbrush and gather the yellow pollen from the male flower and move it to the stigma of the female flower. This will fertilize the female plant and allow the fruit to grow from the flower.

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