Is hand pollinating AG really necessary if I am not concerned re which plants pollinate which? This is my first time to (try to)grow AG's, and I would be happy to have a pumkin of any size.
It is not necessary. Although it does insure your pumpkin has been pollinated. A lot of the growers hand Pollinate because we like to control the cross. I am very picky about color, others are very picky about weight. Half the fun of growing pumpkins is trading seeds in the fall. If you want others to grow your seeds, take the time to control the cross. if you are just growing to grwo a big one. The bee's will do the work for you 75% of the time. Grow them BIG AND ORANGE...Shannon
Ditto what Shannon said. My first pollination of the year yesterday, wasn't a controlled cross(the male and female flowers used, weren't protected from pollinating insects. I still hand pollinated with five males in the morning, in case the bees didn't do the job. This will be classified as an open pollinated pumpkin, if it's the keeper, and I won't keep the seeds.