Top Tomato Tips – 6 Ways to Get Your Flowers to Fruit

Top Tomato Tips – 6 Ways to Get Your Flowers to Fruit

Are your tomatoes flowering well but aren’t producing any fruits? The good news is that you are not alone. Between us, we will have them fruiting in next to no time.
Although other vegetables like squash produce separate male and female flowers, tomatoes have flowers with both male and female parts. This means they’re self-fertile and can pollinate themselves, but whilst that’s technically the case, you will get a much better fruit set if pollinating insects (and especially bees) can get at the flowers.

Bees buzz-pollinate. Their wings move up and down at such a rate it creates that famous low, audible buzz we all know. This buzz produces vibrations so that when they visit a flower, it shakes the pollen free from the male parts down onto the female stigma.

Get The Pollinators in to Work

Make sure the bees can get at your flowers. If you are growing undercover, open up the greenhouse or tunnel vents, windows and doors to let them in.
Also, encourage more pollinators into the area you are growing your tomatoes by planting nectar-rich flowers such as marigolds. You can also improve the fruit set by hand pollinating. Now, you could go from flower to flower with a small artist’s paintbrush, and that would work.

Twang Your Tomatoes

Still, a far more practical solution to dislodge the pollen to fertilise the flower’s female parts is to simply ‘twang’ or tap on plant supports.

Or try using an electric toothbrush on each of the flowers!

Tickle Tomato Flowers Like a Bee

tomato
Electric toothbrush

By vibrating the flowers, you mimic the action of a bee. And that’s it! I have now greatly enhanced the chance of pollination success.
So many gardeners struggle with extreme summer heat, and so can our tomatoes! When it gets too hot, the pollen becomes sterile, especially if nighttime temperatures fail to drop below about 77 Fahrenheit (25 Celsius).
All you can do at this time is to hold out for temperatures to fall away again.
If your plants are undercover, help them keep their cool by leaving the windows, doors and vents wide open and perhaps adding blinds, cloth, or greenhouse shading paint to filter out some of the sunshine.

Grow The Right Variety for Your Conditions

Be sure to grow varieties suited to your climate too. If it is particularly hot where you garden, seek out a warm climate tomato variety that can better withstand your sultry summer. If getting just the right temperature wasn’t enough to contend with, sometimes it could be too humid or too dry for our tomatoes.
Those close, uncomfortable conditions that come with high humidity make the pollen sticky, so it clumps together and fails to drop down onto the female stigma. Arid conditions have the opposite effect – the flowers aren’t moist enough for the pollen to properly stick, so it simply rolls off.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that you can do about high humidity levels other than to ensure adequate ventilation and plenty of space between plants to help along with airflow.

Prune Tomato Leaves

Pruning off some of the lower leaves can help air to circulate better too. I strip as many leaves as I can from the tomato plants, as I feel this encourages the energy to go into producing the fruit. However, if bone-dry air is your issue, be sure to keep plants adequately watered, and the humidity around your plants should remain more stable as excess moisture evaporates.
Ensuring enough water will also give plants the resources required to fully swell their fruits while reducing the risk of simply dropping off. If you are growing undercover, splashing water onto paving – known as damping down – will also help increase humidity.

If your tomato plants have lots of lush foliage but few flowers, then consider light levels. Tomatoes love a sunny spot and will only do their thing if they receive at least six hours of direct sunshine a day.

Dull weather presents a temporary challenge, but if you have planted them in a less than sunny position, you may be best moving your plants to somewhere sunnier because more sunlight means more energy to grow those fruits.

Feed your Tomatoes Correctly


Check what you are feeding your tomatoes. When those first flowers appear, you want to provide them with an organic fertiliser high in potassium and trace elements like magnesium. This will encourage precisely what we are after – more flowers and a better fruit set. Use a product like a liquid tomato feed or seaweed concentrate.

tomato

As well as improving the fruit set will help with general plant health, help to reduce the risk of blossom end rot and increase the nutritional value of the fruits that you eventually pick.
Most feeds are applied about once every two weeks by measuring out and diluting the concentrate according to the packet instructions, then watering it on at the base of the plants. And don’t forget to aim for exemplary soil health by incorporating plenty of well-rotted organic matter into your veg beds and borders at least once a year. This will build up a thriving community of soil life, which in turn will help to support all your plants, including those lovely tomatoes. So it may have got off to a bit of a slow start here, but things are looking up, and I expect to be picking fresh, beautiful tomatoes very soon.
Let me know how your tomatoes are coming along in the comments below.

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07/19/2021 | Blog | 0 Comments

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