What to do in the Garden – August

Cross-Pollination and Seed Saving – The Solution for Small Gardens

Wait! What? Seeds don’t just simply develop from the parent plant to save for next year? Oh good grief.

I was getting an article ready about seed saving when I discovered this very real roadblock on the way to squash, cucumber and pumpkin seed saving.

I have recently learned that if you are growing pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons or gourds, your seeds may not pass the true-copy-of-the-parent test regarding the seeds they bear. They may not be as tasty or they may just disappoint, but you won’t know that until next year’s harvest. Cross pollination is a problem that will compromise the seeds you save unless there is ample acreage between crops; yes, acreage.

Fortunately, there are solutions for small area gardeners. It takes human intervention, but it is totally do-able.

This article sums up the steps to hand pollinate for true-seed fruit:


This Youtube video makes the task even easier, showing how to hand pollinate using clothes pins to gently pinch closed just-about-to-open blossoms in order to hand pollinate the next day. I used this method and it was easy, and a relief that the seeds I save will produce the spitting image of its parent:


Okay, with that issue addressed, and your active participation in pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons or gourds production, you have the tools to get the seeds you want from your garden without the acreage.

Next month we will tackle more seed saving!

Other Things to Do This Month:

~ Plant perennials and shrubs.

~Replant for fall crops – arugula, beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips should all do well in our area started from seed.

~Continue to harvest and enjoy the bounty/beauty you created!

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Steele Memorial Library