Sure, springtime’s got young lovers and the birds and the bees and I’m on board with all of that. Who doesn’t like love in their air? But honestly, it’s autumn that has my thoughts turning to sex. Pumpkin sex that is, and squash booty and hot cucumber action and well, you get the picture. Visions of procreating gourds are dancing in my head.
Speaking of sex, it’s not too much to say that Dave and I have got the girl-making game down pat. Indoors, at least. Somehow we take that step from boudoir to backyard and suddenly all we’ve got to show for our efforts are boys, boys, boys. When it comes to flowering vines, our garden is a no-girls-allowed frat party of testosterone. Across the board our sporty gourds are nothing but snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
Hang on a minute. Male flowers? Pumpkin sex? What? Your fifth-grade teacher skipped the part about girl and boy squash blossoms? Do not fear, I am here, and I never tire of talking sex, gourd or otherwise. Here’s what you need to know: To tell the difference between boys and girls, flip over your flowers. If your flower looks like this…
…congratulations, it’s a girl. See how she wears her womb on her sleeve? That little nub beneath the flower (which she has yet to open) is her fruit-to-be. Come on girlfriend, waving your reproduction flag is no way to lure a man. But lo, the Romeos for whom she waits are right next door:
The males stand strong. The stems run straight up into the flowers. (Of course they stand straight, they’re not the ones lugging around all that pre-squash weight. Hey, does this baby squash make my blossom look fat?)
Our vines last summer tended towards boys-only too, forcing me to take matters into my own hands. When at last a lady pumpkin flower showed up, I got down and dirty, inseminating, pumpkin style. (Note: I’ve been informed that one cannot actually inseminate anything without, well, you know.) Still, I plucked a lusty male blossom, rubbed him good on our single brave female, and wham bam thank you me, I made a baby pumpkin.
At least last year’s bachelor party was limited to the pumpkins. Our butternut squash needed no help in the lovin’ department. It took both kids just to heft the gorgeous gourds of ’07.
They were big, and they were bountiful. Only two vines, but they produced upwards of 10 hefty squash. We were so impressed with their ability to reproduce on their own that we skipped the fertility-challenged pumpkins altogether this year and went crazy with the squash seeds. After all, brown-sugar-bronzed butternut squash is the star of my favorite pasta recipe.
I have been looking forward to that pasta all summer, so I’m getting a little desperate about the dearth of ladies on my vines. What is one to do about the preponderance of males in the garden? I don’t know, and I haven’t yet found anyone out there who does. In the meantime, I’m adding a healthy dash of sugar and spice and everything nice to the compost pile. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Update from the garden: It’s ladies night! As I write this, four potential squashettes sit on the vine advertising their wares to the plethora of suitors. I think the numbers are in their favor.