Years ago A friend, Retired CIA Agent, Randy, Wanted to Sell his Website to Steve Jobs.
Face to Face.
Directly to Steve.
But Randy and I Didn’t KNOW Steve well enough to Call him.
But We Had Something Steve Would Want. Randy’s website gave away 1000’s of Free Apps from Apple Sofware Developers. Each App Developer gave away a Basic Version. And Sold a “PRO” Version.
Randy’s Strategy worked SO Well it attracted more visits than Apple.com.
Millions of hits a day.
So We Put our Heads together.
Created the Website “ThankYouSteveJobs.com and Created a series of Moving Picture & Video Thank You Letters to Steve.
We Had Talking Butterflies and Bumble-bees Pulling “Thank You Steve” Banners across Fields of Flowers. All kinds of Crazy stuff.
The Happy Result?
I — Randy phoned Steve’s Office. Spoke to His Gal Friday. She took a look at our “Thank You Steve” Website. Sent the link to Steve. And Steve And Randy Started Talking on the phone.
II — Steve Sent his 747 to Pick Randy up in Texas.
III — And Randy got a chance to meet Steve Face to Face. Which ended up in an 8 million Dollar Sale.
Which is a Great Story.
But THIS STORY is about What Steve Jobs Told Randy about his Backyard Vegetable Garden. And what we Learned from Steve’s personal Gal-Friday Secretary.
Steve Brought (Literally) Bushels of Vegetables into the Office — Every Day — For His Staffers.
His Garden Was Incredibly Abundant.
Between Hints from Steve. And Chats with His Secretary we Learned How Steve was HELPING The Bees Fertilize his Veggies.
My tongue-in-Cheek HEADLINE —
“How Steve Jobs Had ‘Safe Sex’ With His Squash Plants.”
Steve’s Strategy has become VERY IMPORTANT to me. Because here in Northern Maryland in 2021 — all of our Honey Bees have been Killed.
Meaning All the little Squashes on my Plants ROT.
Without Bees to Pollinate the plants the Zuchini AND Yellow Squash Get 3 inches long. Then wither, Turn Black and Become Black Slime.
Now it is MY Turn to Have “Safe Sex” with my Squash Plants!
A few Years Back Steve Discovered how to Double Production on his Squash And Tomatoes And other Veggies.
And Below We Are Going to WALK You Thru What We do. Based on What Steve (Casually Mentioned) on a phone call with Randy.
CLIMATE CHANGE is Real for Us In Maryland.
I Have Moss Growing on my Roof.
Since it now RAINS every other day (I blame Global Warming) here in Northern Maryland — I have discovered 1000’s of little green Moss Bumps growing on my asphalt roof tile.
UN-Treated. I spotted other people ON YOUTUBE.COM with Moss — Mountains the size of my fist. Eating thru the Roof Tiles.
I am A Bit Distracted Writing This Because…
A Stupid Brown Bird with an Orange Beak Is Trying to Fly Thru My Office Window Glass.
I have an Orange Billed Bird trying to fly through my Office window. Stupid bird goes at it for 2 or 3 hours at a clip.
Bam, Bang, Thud against my window. Very Distracting. When I go yell at the Idiot he flies a few feet. Then Comes back and Starts Again.
As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a Maroon!”
Baby Bunny Wabbits Threaten My Garden too-
While Scything some weeds around my Group of Veggie Planters, I startled a Rabbit. NOT GOOD. Rabbits love Veggies. And this little Hungry Bunny was literally A few feet from my Plastic Planters containers!
This Bunny was a tiny little wabbit. So small he was very slow hopping thru the grass. Only the size of my hand.
I had Gloves on So I Grabbed him.
(Little Rabbits make a Terrible Squeaking Sound.) I Put Mr Wabbit in a bucket with some grass to hide under. Carried him a mile or so to some woods.
The Reason Why I have put a dozen Planters by my back door? Because The Deer and Groundhogs have Suddenly decided they LIKE to eat the spines on my Zuchini and Yellow Squash.
The Deer Never Used to Eat my Squash Plants down to the ground.
But now (At my back door) I can Throw sticks and Rocks at them.
Fact is at 6:30 am — I just Chased a Full Grown Rabbit I spotted hopping down my sidewalk towards the house. Wow was he fast. He out-Ran me. But I chased him for 20 yards or so.
No Honey Bees Is a Huge Problem.
A — I no longer kill wasps. I let the little stinging rascals build nests under my Roof.
I’ve Got Bumble Bee Hives in The Ground.
B — When I hit a Bumble Bee Nest I run. Don’t Spray with Bee Spray. I mark their Hole in the ground with a big Pile of Grass. Come back at night to Trim the Rest of the Tall Grass.
I’ve Got Yellow Jacket Nests in My Lawn.
C — Yellow Jacket Nests too. Both the Yellow Jackets and Bumble bees are like flying machine gunners. When they sting you. Chase You. They keep Stinging.
I prefer getting stung by a Honey Bee. Only One Stinger.
SKUNKS to The Rescue!
All these Nests in the ground have attracted SKUNKS. I find holes and dead wasp bodies and the remnants of the Subterranean Bee Colony.
Just An ESP Guess. But WHAT IF Skunks are armed with The STINKY STUFF — to deal with Bees?
Very cool to think the bees that STUNG ME are getting eaten by Stinky Skunks — the Bees Can’t Touch. (Late at night too. So the Skunks and I don’t Bump into each other!)
(EDITORS NOTE — Since Skunks think of Bumble Bee and Yellow Jacket nests as LUNCH, the Skunks wait until late spring or early fall. That way there is MORE Bee Bodies for them to Chow down on.)
But Almost Every Vegetable Plant I grow has a Different Method of Fertilizing itself. I only had a hazy idea of how all this was done Before. Even tho I’ve been Gardening since I Could Crawl down the row. (My parents tell me.)
“HAZY” Means I know where the male and female parts of the plants are located. But Having to BREED the Plant means you need EXACT DETAILS of the PLANT SEX PROCESS.
Thanks To Steve We Now KNOW What To do.
Sweet Corn is Easy.
The Tassles at the top drop The Male Half of the equation on the (Female) Silk on top of each ear of corn. Each ear of corn is Half way down the stalk so Sweet Corn needs no Help from me.
ALTHOUGH some Birds Have Learned to Perch on the ears of corn. And Eat it before it gets ripe enough to pick. So Even Sweet Corn takes some Vigilance.
Tomato Blossoms are totally Different to Fertilize.
Sweet Peas seem to Self Fertilize their own Blossoms.
And Spinach and Chard Grow Lot of Leaves. So no Blossoms to worry about Fertilizing.
Sweet Potatoes You Buy in Bundles of “Slips”. Tiny plants that grow off of an Adult Sweet Potato — placed in wet sand. Or a Glass of water in a window.
So no Need to deal with Blossoms there.
Pumpkins, Cantaloupe, Watermelons, Acorn Squash, Zuchini and Yellow Squash ALL DEPEND on Bees to Fertilize their Blossoms.
Below is my First Experiment with Plastic Planter — Vegetable Gardening.
MY Rotting Squash NIGHTMARE Started Last Spring.
A — I went to a neighbor with steers. Got his ok to fill a dozen 20 gallon size planters with cow manure.
B — Set them up by my back door.
C — Stuck Squash Seeds in soup cans in my window. Water and Sunlight. Everything sprouts fast. Waited until they got a foot high.
My sophisticated Soup-Can-Seed-Starting Method -
D — Then Set the Squash Plants out early when the Temps were 30 Degrees at night. Using a plastic device with empty pockets you fill with water. Called “ A Wall of Water.” (The Daytime sun Heats the water. And the circle of water keeps the plants warm all nite.)
I found a guy in Maine who was using 50 of these to garden all winter. Even in 2 feet of snow. So I knew they would work fine for me too.
E — But (Last Year — Last Spring) all my Green and Yellow Squash ROTTED after they got 2 or 3 inches long.
F — Remembering What Steve Jobs was doing, I Tried it.
And In Fact — There is a WEIRD SIDE Effect. Instead of 2 or 3 Squash on a plant at a time — I have 8 or 10.
Pic of 10 Yellow Squash on one Plant —
Dunno if You can See Clearly. The big Green Leaves Block our view somewhat. But every Splash of yellow You see at the Base of the plant is a Squash.
2nd Yellow Squash PIC #2 Here —
A second Yellow Squash Plant is ALSO growing a dozen Squash at a time. (Pure cow Manure Must help.)
Not Sure what is going on but my Green Zuchini Squash are Slower. Are not producing as well. One or two Squash at a time.
Green Zuchini Squash PHOTO #3 Here —
Huge Yellow Blossoms the size of my open Hands on The Zuchini Plant. But only 1 or 2 tiny Zuchini Squash growing.
As You can See the Yellow Squash Plants have HUGE Blossoms AND a large # of Little Squash growing around the trunk of the plant. Down near the ground.
Next We Get Into What We Learned From Steve — “How to Have SAFE — SEX — With — SQUASH — PLANTS —
I — You need a razor sharp picket knife or small kitchen knife with a blade 2 to 4 inches long.
II — Or a Pair of Scissors. Paper Scissors will do. Kitchen Sheers or Gardening sheers are ok too.
III — Normally a Bee would Fly into the Male Squash Blossom. The Blossom at 2:00 is the male Blossom. The Blossom at 6:00 is on the End of a tiny Squash.
Male Flower at 2:00 — (Flower sits on the end of a stalk. ) https://glennosborn.com/images/yellowsquashplant1.jpg
Female Flower at 3:00, 6:00 and 7:00 on end of Squash Fruit — https://glennosborn.com/images/yellowsquashplant1.jpg
IV — Inside the Male flower is a yellow Pencil Erasor Size Finger Sticking up. The Stamen. Covered with Yellow Pollen.
V — You Cut The Male Flower off at the stem. Cut then Peel off the sides of the flower. Leaving the yellow Pollen covered Stamen — exposed.
VI — Then Cut the Female Blossom open. Rub the Male flower pollen off on the famale Flower. The female center (Ovary) looks like a tiny fist.
See The Huge Flower at the Center of the Photo? In the middle is the Tiny Fist at the center of the blossom. (This Tip of the Ovary is what you rub the yellow pollen onto.)
FINAL ADVICE From Steve Jobs —
After The Female Blossom is Fertilized the blossom closes. The closed Blossom Protects the TIP of the Fertilized Ovary — Called the Stigma.
IMPORTANT — The Pollen Has to Get onto the sticky Tip of the Ovary. The sticky tip is called “The Stigma.”
Make a cut on the under-side of the female flower. Rub The Pollen from the male “Stamen” onto the tip of the Female flower Ovary “Stigma”.
THEN Cover it back up with the Flower Petals.
OTHERWISE the rain will wash off the pollen. And your Squash Rots.
A Small Detail, sure.
But the YouTube videos I watched on this subject — don’t talk about the Importance of Protecting the fertilized ovary after you dab the Pollen on.
Which Probably Explains why Steve’s Garden was Such a Vegetable Bonanza. 100% of his Female Squash Flowers Produced Squash.