You will find them hanging upside down in pots and buckets, in containers of all sizes and descriptions, on porches and patios. You will find them in raised bed gardens, well and not so well maintained gardens every where.
You can find 700 or more if not thousands of different tomato varieties. Some are heirlooms many are hybrids coming in many different shapes, sizes, colors, bush and vine tomato’s. Some developed for special uses such as making tomato sauce.
The number one question I hear tomato growers ask is, Why are my tomato’s not setting fruit and dropping their blooms? Here are a few of the causes for small crops and bloom drop.
Source Tomato Pollination
Tomato Pollination. Pollen is shed with great abundance between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on dry, sunny days. To ensure better pollination, gently shake or vibrate the entire tomato plant.
Tomato’s like it warm, Not Hot. Optimum fruit set occurs within a very narrow night temperature range of between 60° F and 70° F. When tomato plants experience night temperatures lower than 55° F or above 75° F prevents normal fertilization. The pollen may even become sterile causing the blossoms to drop. High daytime temperatures, over 90 degrees, will cause tomato’s not to pollinate and lead to blossom drop.
Note about tomato pollination. Tomatoes are self fertile, but self pollinating?…only when conditions are ideal…they often need help. “Self pollinating” is one of the myths spread by tomato growers. Always clean pollinating tools thoroughly after use with 95% ethanol or 1/2 table spoon of chlorine bleach in 1 cup of warm soap water.
Source Age-Old Trick Increases Your Tomato Harvest
Use a cheap electric, battery powered toothbrush to pollinate your tomato’s. Turn on the toothbrush and gently and briefly touch it to the top of the petals or stem of the flower, or flower cluster. Do not touch it to the face of the flower. That’s all that is required. Spend a few seconds each time you visit the garden, the results will be worth your time and effort.
Bumble Bees are the best and most reliable insect pollinator of tomato’s. The common European honey bee is almost useless and seldom is able to pollinate tomato blossoms.
Some tomato varieties can handle cool damp weather or hot dry weather better than others. Do your homework and research what varieties do best under your normal weather conditions.
In my Tiny Garden, in Southwest Oklahoma our summers tend to be hot and dry. We have many days at or above 95 degrees and nights staying well into the high 70′ and low 80 degree temperatures. Not idea tomato growing conditions. Porter, improved porter and porter cherry, developed by a Texas tomato grower stands up well to our hot dry conditions as do many of the fast maturing cherry tomato varieties. It seems that smaller is better! Large type tomato’s like beefsteak, better-boy and so on often fail to produce a ‘good’ crop or sometimes any tomato’s in SW Oklahoma’s dry heat.
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