Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nanking Cherries and Pollination

The Nanking Cherry bushes this morning: all in full bloom!

Last year, our Nanking Cherry bushes bloomed, but we did not have many cherries to speak of.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the bee population has declined drastically, so we have lost a lot of our pollinators (and a lot of potential fruit as a result).

We need bees. Yes, there are other pollinators out there still, but we need bees.

Until we get some bees, I have been reading on how to do a little pollination myself. It's pretty labor-intensive, and method varies with each plant.

For the Nanking Cherry, it seems that it's not good enough to pollinate the flowers on the plant from the same plant. I need to cross the pollen with another Nanking Cherry or another plant in the same family (stone fruits, which our other varieties are not blooming *quite* yet).

Time for a little experiment.  Outside I go with my wee little paintbrush and a few colored pieces of yarn to mark my progress.

The method is easy: "paint" the center of each flower.
There's more than one way to paint a Cherry Blossom!

Method 1: Before researching a bit more after having time to think as I "painted", was to start with one branch and paint all(most) of the flowers on that one branch. I marked this branch with pink yarn and went inside to read some more.....

Method 2:  Pick a branch on each bush and go back and forth between the bushes, painting flowers on a branch of each bush. I marked these branches with cream colored yarn.

Method 3: (because I was getting a little bit tired of painting blossoms by this time) was to use my hands and lightly brush up and down the branches of blossoms on each of the three bushes. I marked these with black yarn.

Any way I did it, some of the blossoms fell off. My bushes are no longer the striking beauties they once were. But at least I might have some cherries in a few months!

I did see about 3 bees when I was out just now (yeah!).

Now to wait a few months to see if there are any noticeable results. :)


Anonymous said...

I read the article in the Lima News and loved it. I have had a hard time finding your sight. I clicked on every thing beginning with living until I found you.
This blog was very interesting, we haven't had any bees for some years. I am especially interested in canning and drying which was mentioned in the paper, do you do classes? Thanks

Tanya said...

I am glad you put forth the extra effort to find me!

I just checked the link on the Lima News online site and they don't have the links working right for some reason. :( I think it might be because it's an incomplete link (without the "www.").

As of right now, I don't do classes. My last canning experience was with tomatoes, which were one of my worst allergens(thought I didn't know that at the time) and needless to say it wasn't a great experience for me, lol. I am toying with the idea of canning a few things this year though... (not tomatoes! lol)

As far as drying, as mentioned in the article, I use an Excalibur food dehydrator. I basically just refer to the book that came with it as far as how to prepare.

To the right of my blog, under my picture and About Me, there is a list of "Labels", with which I have organized my blog (somewhat). You might find more information like what you are looking for under "Food Preservation".

Thanks for reading! :)