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I grow Jap pumpkins they just pop up when ready & need pruning to stop them overrunning the whole garden. Last year, a very wet year I dispaired of them setting fruit, lots of male flowers in Feb March & April but very few females which would not set even when hand polinated, same with the zuccinies & tromboncinno. Finally in May a few set but not my usual bumper crop.

This year its only March & both my Pumpkin & Trombonccino are producing lots of female flowers & setting without hand polinating - strange is it because this year is so dry, its not as if the weather has cooled down. Or perhaps its because I have recently replemished all the garden with compost & flood debrie?

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Comment by Jane on April 13, 2014 at 12:03

Had rain in the last month & now getting some from cyclone Ita. think I've got the pumpkin flowering sorted out, since the rain they have stopped producing female flowers, alll male. Makes sense really, when wet produce leaves, when feeling threatened because its dry produce female flowers to reproduce in case of death. Simple.

Comment by Lissa on March 27, 2014 at 4:32

I do much the same Valerie. Many of my best producing plants are the ones that self seed where it suits them. If not practical, I pull it up.

Comment by Valerie on March 26, 2014 at 22:19
I found that my best results come from self-seeded. We got some butternut sqush growing just outside the wicking, producing 3 pieces. Found lots of sprouted rockmelon seeds and even a sprouted mango seed in my worm farm a couple of days but transplanting seems to have killed it. If it comes out in a practical area, I let it grow. I reckon I should trip on the grass with my seedbox one day and see what comes up. The chook seeds that my son scatters around seem to be doing great as well. I find sunflowers and chick peas regularly coming out in the lawn.(not that practical and ususally does not survive the chooks next trip out.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 25, 2014 at 21:11

Oh yes there is. No one knows everything about everything. But most of us know a great deal about something/s. Lissa you're propagating skills are very high, you can grow a big selection of plants and pick decent crops. We find our niche: I've found a liking for growing Dragon Fruit yet my citrus are bordering on disastrous. So it goes.

Comment by Lissa on March 25, 2014 at 18:18

Not much hope that I will become knowledgeable before end of my days then Jane lol.

Comment by Jane on March 25, 2014 at 17:05

sounds good advice to me Elaine & Lisssa you dont only have to be a newby not to understand, I've been gardening for over 30 years & many things still puzzel me.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 24, 2014 at 7:43

Some advice was 'stick to growing what you know you can grow'. Humph. How do you know unless you try?

Another piece of 'wisdom' is to not plant repeat crops in the same spot. Humph. Some of the best Tomatoes have been self-seeded at the feet of their deceased parent.

Point being that food gardening is not an exact science and the variations between spots even in the one yard can be huge. Never mind the variations between suburbs or parts of an area.

One of the many lessons I have learned since being on this site, is that many crops have a much wider range of climate and season than I thought.

I take the 'suck it and see' approach and I have my share of failures and the odd success to keep me interested.

It never ceases to amaze me when bland statements are made on seed packets e.g. 'suitable for Australian conditions'. I asked one seed rep what was meant; whether Alpine, desert, tropical or what. He changed the subject and moved away.

As for 'knowledge' pick up what sounds reasonable, give it a whirl and see how it works out in your gardens.

Comment by Lissa on March 24, 2014 at 5:22

It's the biggest puzzle that I've encountered in the few years I've been growing edible Jane :I Something will do great one year, and lousy the next for no apparent good reason.

This is why experienced gardeners are so valuable to us relative newbys, they have decades of observing what goes on in their garden under their belt. I feel like a baby fumbling about trying to learn what I need to know. I might be growing enough to have some "success" but I know it could be so much better with more knowledge.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on March 23, 2014 at 21:17

Could it be the amount of insects?  I know I don't have many bees, but the ants seem to do a wonderful job of pollinating.  Having said that, in February I lost my zucs and my pumpkins are struggling.  

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 23, 2014 at 12:54

How are we to make sense of this conundrum? My Tromboncino died very early after producing 6 or so fruit where last year the plants produced dozens of fruit. Different spot, different year :-\

I can understand why commercial growers use greenhouses and hydroponics so much. Controlling or dealing with the vagaries of the weather and the unknown needs of the plants is a major task.

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