Answer: To ensure a good crop of pumpkins or squash, especially if there doesn't seem to be a lot of insect activity when the blossoms are open, you can hand pollinate by removing a male blossom from the vine and 'visiting' the female blossoms. As a general rule of thumb, the first blossoms to appear on the vines are male. Then the female blooms begin to develop and appear. You can tell the difference by looking at the stem just behind the blossom. Female blossoms have a swelling directly behind the petals of the flowers. This is the immature ovary, where a squash will develop if the flower has been pollinated. Male flowers have a straight stem directly behind the petals. You can use one male blossom to pollinate several female blossoms. Simply hold the male blossom by the stem and rub the inside of the flower on the inside of the female flower, to transfer the pollen.
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