By Jannie Vaught
Last week a fellow gardener showed up at my door. Her question was “why aren’t my tomatoes setting fruit? We went through the regular questions, are you feeding them on a regular time schedule? Are they in cages or staked? Are you pinching off the lower limbs and removing the succors? And are they in the shade, full sun? Do they have flowers? All these were yes. She’s a well-experienced gardener. I went to the Bonnie Plants on-line. And they are saying it can be about temperatures and for us, it is about Humidity!
They are self-pollinating but the pollen must drop onto the producing area. And if it is too humid the pollen becomes sticky. If it is to dry it can blow off. And no fruit will set. Tomatoes are very sensitive with night time temperatures and the night temps that stay around 75 can slow them down. They continue to say that you need to keep on schedule with feeding pruning and watering and as the weather comes right the plants will respond and begin fruiting. They will be delayed and may even wait till fall. I think a little help from us with a small dry brush or a cotton swab and gently take pollen and distribute it among the flowers. Just a little help from a friend. Pollen can be affected by rain. As for pollinating corn, if it is in Tassel stage and the pollen is dropping onto the silk to make each corn kernel.
The rain or even overhead sprinklers can wash off the pollen and the kernels do not develop. This has been a very wet, humid, and rainy season, don’t get concerned. Keep to the plan. We need to be patient and let Nature do what nature does, in time balance will come and so will the tomatoes. But if your able to go out give them a little help with the pollinating or on a dry day shake the corn tassels, take some pollen from the male squash (no bulge behind the flower) and apply to the female squash ( the one with the bulge behind the flower).
We are the helpers and attendants of the garden. Sometimes we simply just add a little help. Out in the garden growing green and pollinating flowers.
Growing Green With Jannie