Hand Pollinating Squash

One of my passions is heirloom seed saving and gardening. I have a small garden area and like to grow more than one variety of squash so I hand pollinate to insure that the genetic purity is preserved, the fruit will be true to type and I can save the seed for future gardening.

To hand pollinate, I simply transfer the pollen from a male squash bloom to the carpel (pistil) of the female. The female squash blooms are easy to recognize by the tiny squash fruit at the bottom of the flower. See the tiny zucchini below the bloom?

The male flowers are missing the fruit at the base of the flower and are just a straight stem.

Inside the male flower you can see the pollen powder on the tip of the stamen.

You can use a q-tip to transfer the pollen or pick the flower, peel back the petals and directly pollinate.

Transferring the pollen.

Then I take a rubber band or piece of string and gently close the petals so that cross pollination will not occur.

A female buttercup squash.

See the tiny buttercup fruit below the bloom?

Buttercup squash bed
I will save the seeds from the fruit that I hand pollinated to plant next year!

To read more about why I am so passionate about heirloom gardening, check out my adventures in tomato seed saving.


  1. thank you for sharing this Michelle, how long have you been 'hand pollinating'. I can't wait to have a garden again, Yah will soon. Please be sure to post the fruits of your labour at harvest time!

    blessings in Messiah

  2. This was really interesting Michelle! I am going to share it. Great home school science project~
    Great photos too!