I have a little something to confess to you all. This is kind of embarrassing...but I think you should all know that I'm a perv. A big one. Sorry...but I'm just being honest. While were on the "honesty page" I'll let you in on something else too...it's not just me thats a perv...all seed savers are. We're all pervs. The secret is out. Our job is to make plants make tons of babies...so, how could we NOT be pervs?
Those who know me well don't even bat an eyelash anymore when I refer to a tomato as "one sexy mo-fo." They don't produce even the slightest flinch when i tell them about how "this amaranth is so pretty that I wanna make out with it." These people actually find it fairly standard for me to show them a picture of a pea flower and say "LOOK! doesn't this look like a cute little vagina?"
Phew! Now that my seedy laundry is aired...and you all know that I'm a pervert...we can move on to everybody else! So in the past few years I've been noticing something about the other gardeners and seed geeks that I've come across...they are almost all as perverted as I am! This past December after a few local events had passed by and Christmas was rounding the corner...I wake up to check my emails one morning...only to find a flurry of hilarious emails from people who all seemed to have a little seed-perv in 'em too! Amongst those emails, was one from an older gentleman gardener who sent me a selfie holding his giant phallic tillage radish. (and no, this is not code for anything other than tillage radish!)
Needless to say...I knew for sure I wasn't alone. There were other seed pervs out there too.
Years ago, only the odd person here or there would chime in with "Yes, that IS a sexy tomato you have there!" when I would start the conversation towards vegetables being sexual...but in recent years..more and more people have been joining in the fun too. Sometimes when I overhear a stranger at the market describing a head of cauliflower as "sexy" as they let out a big sigh and post it to instagram #FOODGASM...It really makes me feel like our world might be getting a little more awesome.
So why exactly are seed savers so pervy...? Well...when your job is to make plants make babies all time time...things are focused on reproduction. It is actually the entire focus... which can get pretty silly when you are covered in dirt trying to discuss hand pollination in a serious manner. (this is why i don't try to be serious anymore...like ever.)
I think another huge factor behind most garden pervism is nature. I totally blame nature. The senses are magnified in the garden and they can't be ignored. There is an overload of physical senses from the varying weather and surrounding life. Birth, creation, growth and energy all being experienced at once. Some people are moved by this, some inspired, and some even turned on! ha! So we can all safely blame nature for putting us in a perversion awakening zone. Thanks nature. I like you.
People always laugh when they discover that sometimes...I have to make the plants have sex with each other. Yep, basically I'm like a plant porn director or something! Showing which flowers who they can share their pollen with and sometimes going as far as to do it for them...while taking pictures the whole time to post on the internet at a later date. Hahahah So yea, I basically can't hand pollinate without bursting into laughter, even if i'm alone in the garden.
Lucky for me, not all vegetable seed crops need to be hand pollinated! "Selfers" have bisexual or hermaphroditic flowers, which means that they have both male and female sexual organs within the same flower. They can "take care of themselves" if you know what I mean. "Crossers", on the other hand have separate male and female flowers with separate male and female sexual organs on the same plant. (monoecious flowers) The males have promiscuous pollen which can pass from flower to flower via wind and insects. Cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, melons) are likely the most common selfer crop that one would need to hand pollinate in order to maintain varietal purity. So, if you want to save seed for two different squash varieties within the same species, then you need to hand pollinate! This entails finding a virginal male flower, opening it up and spreading its pollen soaked anther all over the females stigma. (Very similar to "human pollination" if you think about it...if I only had pictures to show you how similar it looks too...giggle giggle) You'd then secure the flower closed and mark it off, so at end of the season, you know that specimen is pure.
...And now you know how to make monoecious crossers have sex! BAM!
Well you seedy weirdos...now you know that I won't be judging you if you wanna make out with your cucumbers, finger your soil or talk dirty to your lettuce before dinner. I'll be too busy taking pictures of vaginal flowers to judge you. I promise. Keep it Seedy! PEACE!!!