Using zucchini plants, help kids understand how vegetable plants are pollinated by bees in our gardens and why it’s important for us to create bee-friendly backyards.
Helping kids understand how plants are pollinated by bees in our gardens and why it’s important for us to create bee-friendly backyards.
Plus some answers as to why you might not be getting vegetables to grow in your garden.
Learning about Pollination Growing Vegetables with Kids
There are some days I stop and realize what I share on the phone with my gardening friend may not be a typical conversation between two mom friends. It’s all good, I promise, but I find it interesting where our topics lead some days.
This morning’s topic was: Male and Female Zucchini Flowers
This past week I was out in my garden after dropping my oldest off at school and noticed that my zucchini had blossomed! I was so excited!
Then I quickly remembered that year after year I have issues with my squash not growing. I keep trying to grow a garden with my kids and then reality sets in and things just don’t grow.
Tips for Growing Zucchini with Kids
Can you tell from the images which is which?
How to Identify Male and Female Zucchini Blossoms
That’s when I picked up the phone to have an interesting chat with my gardening friend…. oh to be in on this conversation, well actually I guess you will be because here’s what she shared with me.
There are female and male flowers with squash. Did you know that?
I truthfully never thought about it before until she pointed it out to me. Once we started talking about it I did recall a few science classes in my youth but I guessed I had simply filed it away from lack of use.
FYI…The male flower has a long slender stem with pollen and the female flower has a short stem along with a miniature squash at the base of the flower.
The male flower has pollen!
Why on earth does it matter? Well in case you’ve noticed there is a shortage of pollinators in parts of the world, I happen to think my backyard might be a small region.
However, there is a simple scientific solution to help those future squash along.
Become a Pollinator!
Here I was out with my youngest daughter teaching her about flowers and pollen and noticing the differences in the flowers. We took it with our paintbrushes or Qtips and touched the male pollen and then touched the female blossom, stigma. A little basic reproductive science at the plant level with kids.
So there you have it, there are male and female blossoms on zucchini plants and how to help your vegetables grow! I thought perhaps you might want to know too, just in case you don’t have a gardening friend to call and ask your gardening questions too.
Guess what we discovered a few days later?
A tiny zucchini that’s actually growing. If it had not been pollinated then it stops growing and just turns yellow then to mush. Hopefully, we can attract more pollinators to our garden this year by planting the right flowers but until then we will be “Assistant Pollinators”.
Here are some flower tips for how to plant a pollinator garden.
Here’s more information below about Pollination and how to attract Pollinators to your garden.
Resources for Kids about Bees and Pollination
- Pollination Science Lesson from Little Warriors
- Bee Unit from 2 Teaching Mommies
- Bee Crafts
- Honey Bee Bag Book from Delightful Learning
- Beehive and Bee Craft and Writing Prompt from Apples and ABC’s
- The Beehive Finger Song and Printables from Strings, Key, and Melodies
- Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden from Mother Earth Living
- How Can you Help Bee the Solution from Whole Foods Market
- Squash Pollination from Walter Reeves
- Hand Pollination of Squash from Garden Web
- How to Identify Male and Female Flowers from Complete Garden
My gardening friend shared numerous tips last season about Zucchini and I’m so glad she did so that I remembered to ask her about it this year on the phone. Let’s face it busy moms don’t remember everything right?
Here’s her helpful post that she shared that includes a video about male and female flowers, a how-to store zucchini, and a delicious recipe too!
Now if I can only get her to help me with my cucumbers…
“Eighty percent of all plants rely upon pollination for survival. But more astoundingly, for humans, one out of every three bites of food is made possible by pollination. Without pollination, say goodbye to cabbage and avocados, watermelons and coconut, and more tragically, strawberry shortcake, blueberry cobbler, apple pie, and chocolate anything. Hamburgers also can’t happen without the pollination of alfalfa to feed cattle. As it turns out, pollination hits all of us very close to home”;
What are you Planting in your Garden with Kids?
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