Self-Pollinating Tomatoes

Did you know that Tomatoes are self pollinating? I did not.

I had a moment of panic seeing beautiful yellow flowers open up on my tomatoes and realizing some are very far from the others. This is great for avoiding cross-pollination BUT did this mean I would have to do something to help them fruit?

The answer is no. Tomatoes have "perfect flowers" meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. The female pistil is surrounded by multiple male stamens. The pollen falls from the stamens on to the pistil allowing the flowers fertilize themselves. 

I also learned that tomato pollination is very sensitive to temperature and humidity. The best time for pollination is in the middle of the day when there is low humidity. The temperature ideally should be between 60°F and 70°F but can be between 55°F and 85°F.

While the wind should be enough to knock the pollen around many tomato growers take matters into their own hands. You can help self-pollinate your tomato plant by giving it a little shake during the above mentioned time.   

 

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