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This actually seems to work

~This is the nineteenth post in a series running through the month of June 2009 in which I attempt to post once a day for the month.~

We had quite a few tomato flowers with no tomatoes on the venerable old tomato plant that survived the harsh Los Angeles winter. I decided to poke around my Internet and see if there was any info on why flowers make or do not make tomatoes. I learned that tomatoes are self-pollinating, which means the flowers are both male and female. That’s pretty cool. The catch in the system, though, is that the pollen needs to move from the male to the female part. Or maybe it’s from the female to the male part. Either way, the pollen needs to move, and the plant needs some help with that. Sometimes the wind will move the pollen. Or some bumble bees might come along, in their pollen-gathering travels, and vibrate the flowers enough to move the pollen where it needs to go to make fruit. If you don’t happen to have a lot of wind or bees, you can help nature along one of two ways:

You can shake your plants

Gardening 101: How To Hand-Pollinate Tomatoes And Peppers from One Green Generation on Vimeo.

Or you can go all high-tech and “buzz” them with an electric toothbrush:

After watching these, I went outside and tapped all my flowers and the next morning, I had two new baby tomatoes. Not sure if one led to the other, but I do have more fruit and it never hurts to spend a few extra minutes a day with your tomato plants!


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