Help with Pollinating Tomato Flowers…
Shake, tap, flick and mist with water are the first things to do to encourage flowers to set fruit.
However, there are times when it seems to take forever for those pea-sized baby toms to appear, so here are a few more ways to help pollinate your flowers.
Using a fine artist’s brush, gently push it into the anther cone – the round yellow tube-like middle part of the flower. On the inside of the anthers is the pollen.
(Thanks to geochembio.com for the photo)
The pollen needs to find its way to the stigma, then travel down the style into the ovary. The ovary then grows into the pea-like tomato that you see when the flower dies away.
Another method is to use anything that vibrates, such as an electric toothbrush. This is held against the flowers in the hope that pollen will move to the stigma and down into the ovary. It acts a bit like a bumble bee’s wings creating vibrations.
There are many reasons why flowers fail to set and the result of this often means that flowers are aborted from the plant, this is called Blossom Drop – a very common problem, even for professional growers who mainly use bees these days.
This Week’s Leaf Problem
Identifying leaf problems is often difficult because the same visual symptoms can belong to different diseases or just weather related marks.
Sun scorch or sunscald occurs when wet leaves, usually behind glass, are in direct sunlight for enough time for the water dropletts to act as a magnifying glass and burn marks in the leaves.
These marks can show themselves as patches as in the photo, or as small round marks that are grey/white in colour and are usually surrounded by a very narrow brown edge, indicating that the leaves have been burned. It’s rare to see more than a few leaves affected and it does no serious damage to the growth of a plant.
The Story Behind Mortgage Lifter
Mortgage Lifter aka “Radiator Charlie” is a large variety that was developed by a garage mechanic named M C Byles.
There is a very interesting story behind this variety and the link to the audio can be found on this page – it’s well worth a listen!
We’ve had problems with our old video camera this week (it’s been playing up for some time!) so unfortunately, although my wife and I recorded a video about pollination, we are unable to get it on the computer and up on the internet – sorry about that but hopefully the problem will be sorted soon!
As always, if you have any questions please email me: [email protected]
If you’d like to leave a comment or a question below, it will be good to hear from you!