Instructables

How to hand pollinate tomatoes for larger production and harvest

video How to hand pollinate tomatoes for larger production and harvest
 

Gardening tips: how to hand pollinate tomatoes for larger production of your container garden. Many gardeners leave pollination to the bees, but if you want to see the best harvests, you can take matters into your own hands.

In this video I am going to show you the best way to hand pollinate your tomatoes. All you need is a electric toothbrush and a few minutes of your time.

Many edible plants such as tomatoes are self-fertilizing or self-pollinating. This means that you only need one plant in the garden for fruit to set. In the case of tomatoes, the male and female parts are contained in the same flower. This truly makes tomato plants a top contender for container gardening.

Self-pollinating plants will produce without any intervention on your part, but you can help nature along to really reap the rewards. Wind and bees normally move the pollen around the plants, letting pollination occur, but what happens when nature doesn't cooperate? Poor pollination happens all too often. High temperatures, humidity, and too much moisture can severely hinder your crop. So why not take matters into your own hands?

We all spend hours in the garden planting and caring for our little green friends, so I say lets go the extra step and pollinate by hand. Hand pollination of self-fertile plants is easy and does not require much time or money. All you need is an electric toothbrush and you are ready to hand pollinate. Just like the wind or a bee, the vibrations from the toothbrush loosen the pollen from the flower and allow pollination to occur. Simply turn on the toothbrush and gently place it behind the open flower. This will distribute the pollen to the flowers stigma. You will often see puffs of pollen shoot out of the flower when you do this. You should see the results of your hand pollination in a day or two. I like to repeat this process every other day for the best results.

If you are like me and you want to get the most out of your garden, then try to hand pollinate your tomatoes. I am sure that once you try it you will never go back. For more gardening tips and projects visit my blog http://www.getforked.ca .
idydstie7 months ago

Bumble bees vibrate the pollen out when they buzz there wings. I've heard it's a frequency that is specific to certain plants. Nature knows best and will do it for free ;)

drawe2 years ago
I recomend a C-Tip like you would clean your ear with, they work great and don't need batterys. Also if you buy the cardboard and cotton type they can go on your compost heap when you are done with them. (so everyone wins)
drawe drawe2 years ago
Q-Tip, that should be Q-Tip not C-Tip... Think my fingers have a mind of their own sometimes...
Isn't this what the VegiBee does? Only it actually captures the pollen for you. We got one for our nanny and she said the yield on tomatoes has more than doubled.
Get Forked (author)  jkirkpatrick2 years ago
Same idea but the toothbrush method will only cost you about $4 the VegiBee cost about $40.
Where do you go for a $4 brush? That's a good deal.

The VegiBee site says it vibrates up to 46,000 vibrations per minute. Do you think that makes a difference? I have no idea how fast the toothbrush goes. I'd love to see a video comparison between the two and see which produces more pollen.
Get Forked (author)  jkirkpatrick2 years ago
You need to get one of the disposable ones. London drugs is where I got mine. there in the same section as the old school toothbrushes. I am not sure how many vibrations per minute it gets there website does not say. All I can tell you is that it works for me. That said, this would not work for plants that are not self pollinating were as it looks like your VegiBee would work for that, I think. It looks like you can get it inside the flower, where as, my method hits the back of the flower. I would like to get one to try out someday.
sunshiine2 years ago
Awesome! I am trying this, we have few bees now that our neighbor bee keeper moved. Thanks for sharing your hard work and time!
Sunshiine
Get Forked (author)  sunshiine2 years ago
Thanks for the comment. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me
I tried a method like this last year because the tomatoes did not seam to be making fruit. I do not know if it was the heat or the lack of bees. Finally later in the summer the fruit started setting but I used a Q tip. I love this idea because the vibration should do the trick! thanks again! I just hope I can get to the store to buy one of these.