Early on, my kabochas (and related squash, I always seem to have some
looking squash in the patch), are loath to set because:
1. There aren't any male flowers (with pollen)
2. The bees haven't discovered the flowers yet
I almost always have about 10 days to 2 weeks of female flowers that
preceed the males. If I see a male, I dab the stamin with a haiku brush
and dab any female flowers I see. This results in setting. I generally
do this for a few weeks until there are plenty of flowers, male and
female, and bees to insure that pollination will occur naturally.
My questions are these:
1. How much pollen is necessary to get the females to set? Are a few
grains (or even a single grain) sufficient? I ask this because the first
male flowers often have few if any pollen grains on them, so there's not
much to go around.
2. How long do the pollen grains stay viable? If I don't see another
male flower for several days, are the grains still adhering to my haiku
brush going to pollinate new female flowers effectively?
Email: dmusicant at pacbell dot net