To maintain isolation and control over the purity of a particular variety, it may become necessary to cage a plant and pollinate it by hand, to avoid cross-pollination from neighbors, farm crops or volunteer plants in the area. Many times, especially with very popular plants like peppers and melons, hand pollination is the only way to eliminate unwanted hybridization. What are some of your tricks when it comes to isolating special breeds or hand pollinating?
Here are a few tips when it comes to isolating and pollinating squash blossoms, courtesy of Native Seed/Search, a regional seed bank in Tucson, Arizona, where Painted Desert Seed Co. is a member.
One of the most famous farming methods utilized by the indigenous tribal peoples of North America is called The Sisters. Three Sisters Planting refers to corn, providing support for pole beans, which in turn provide nitrogen fixing into the soil for the corn, and ground covering vines such as squash or melons to preserve moisture and provide cooling for the roots of the beans and corn. In the Southwest deserts, another, Fourth Sister joins the Three Sisters: Sunflowers also provide shade and cover from wind, as well as further support for beans and vines. Learn more about Gardening with The Three Sisters here: