• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

My plants have no tomatoes... Here's why...

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,638
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
When temperatures rise above 85 to 90 degrees F (depending on humidity) during the day and 75 degrees F at night, pollen will become unviable. Humidity can also come into play. In the extreme humid regions of the U.S., pollen may become so sticky that it does not fall. On the other end of the spectrum, in the arid regions, pollen may become so dry that it does not stick to the female part of the flower. Many gardeners try to gently shake the plant to encourage pollination, but a lot of times it is just not going to work.

This recent weather has doomed fresh tomatoes....
 

BrianGSDTexoma

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,577
2,529
Joined Aug 1, 2018
I gave up. Spent a lot of money and time. Got a package of heirloom from trader joe yesterday. They all mushy. If I lived closer would take them back. Don't know why didn't just go to local farmer.
 

motocrash

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
3,745
1,444
Joined Aug 25, 2017
Are you sure it's not a lack of pollinators - Bees in particular?
 

cornman

Smoking Fanatic
371
277
Joined Sep 30, 2016
I’m seeing the same thing here in central PA. My plants are going crazy but the fruit on the vines is going SUPER SLOW, even the “early” variety.

It’s only the second week of July and we’ve had 16 days over 90 with more expected through the rest of this week (I think we’re in our 3rd heat wave so far). The local weatherman said last night that this area averages 20 days all summer over 90 and we’re just now getting into the thick of July and August.

I remember growing up on a farm that my dad would say (and he still does today) too much heat for tomatoes actually doesn’t do them good as far as producing, so you’re definitely on to something, Daveomak. Sorry for the long-winded-ness, but I’m ready for some fresh tomatoes!!!
 

cmayna

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
3,367
1,047
Joined Jun 23, 2012
Wife has a dozen tomato plants going with lots of tomatos earning their keep. No problem with pollinating around here. Neighbors will be well fed.
 

ToddT

Newbie
8
3
Joined Apr 7, 2020
Tomato plants are self pollinating.. No bees required....
Anyone ever try this?

However, even if conditions are less than ideal, it never hurts to try anyway. Oftentimes, you can simply shake the plant(s) gently to distribute the pollen. However, you may achieve better results by giving the vine a little vibrating instead. While you can purchase commercial pollinators or electric vibrator devices to hand pollinate tomatoes, a simple battery-operated toothbrush is really all you need. The vibrations cause the flowers to release pollen. Techniques for hand pollinating vary, so use whatever method works best for you. Some people simply place the vibrating device (toothbrush) just behind the open flowers and gently blow on or shake the plant to distribute the pollen. Others prefer to collect the pollen in a small container and use a cotton swab to carefully rub the pollen directly onto the end of the flower stigma. Hand pollination is usually practiced every two to three days to ensure pollination occurs. Upon successful pollination, the flowers will wilt and begin fruiting.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Steps To Pollinate Tomatoes By Hand https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/pollinate-tomatoes.htm
 

Steve H

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
6,650
5,845
Joined Feb 18, 2018
I have alot of cherry tomatoes on the plants. None have ripened yet. The wait sucks!
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
561
817
Joined Jan 17, 2021
You might try using a Q-Tip to pollinate them yourself. Preferably from a flower that has yet to blossom, just graze the inside of any other blossom.

Another thing, overwatering helps keep the roots cool particularly in potted plants. My cherry tomato is getting 4+gal/day, and full tomatoes generally need more water.
 

bregent

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,897
985
Joined Mar 1, 2014
This recent weather has doomed fresh tomatoes....
That's sucks Dave. I can tolerate most other supermarket produce, but there is no substitute for homegrown tomatoes.
My cherries are ripening now, and the heirlooms should be ready in a few more weeks. I swore I'd never buy market tomatoes again, but the local market had some nice looking heirlooms so I went for it. Totally tasteless :(
 

civilsmoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,681
3,087
Joined Jan 27, 2015
Agree on the that sucks! I always plant early girls go they produce early and many.....
 

motocrash

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
3,745
1,444
Joined Aug 25, 2017
Anyone ever try this?

However, even if conditions are less than ideal, it never hurts to try anyway. Oftentimes, you can simply shake the plant(s) gently to distribute the pollen. However, you may achieve better results by giving the vine a little vibrating instead. While you can purchase commercial pollinators or electric vibrator devices to hand pollinate tomatoes, a simple battery-operated toothbrush is really all you need. The vibrations cause the flowers to release pollen. Techniques for hand pollinating vary, so use whatever method works best for you. Some people simply place the vibrating device (toothbrush) just behind the open flowers and gently blow on or shake the plant to distribute the pollen. Others prefer to collect the pollen in a small container and use a cotton swab to carefully rub the pollen directly onto the end of the flower stigma. Hand pollination is usually practiced every two to three days to ensure pollination occurs. Upon successful pollination, the flowers will wilt and begin fruiting.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Steps To Pollinate Tomatoes By Hand https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/pollinate-tomatoes.htm
Turns out Dave just needs a vibrator. HAH! Or some bees.
Interesting stuff on Wiki, says pretty what you said. They're not self pollinating.

Pollination

In the wild, original state, tomatoes required cross-pollination; they were much more self-incompatible than domestic cultivars. As a floral device to reduce selfing, the pistil of wild tomatoes extends farther out of the flower than today's cultivars. The stamens were, and remain, entirely within the closed corolla.

As tomatoes were moved from their native areas, their traditional pollinators, (probably a species of halictid bee) did not move with them.[71] The trait of self-fertility became an advantage, and domestic cultivars of tomato have been selected to maximize this trait.[71]

This is not the same as self-pollination, despite the common claim that tomatoes do so. That tomatoes pollinate themselves poorly without outside aid is clearly shown in greenhouse situations, where pollination must be aided by artificial wind, vibration of the plants (one brand of vibrator is a wand called an "electric bee" that is used manually), or more often today, by cultured bumblebees.[72] The anther of a tomato flower is shaped like a hollow tube, with the pollen produced within the structure, rather than on the surface, as in most species. The pollen moves through pores in the anther, but very little pollen is shed without some kind of externally-induced motion. The ideal vibratory frequencies to release pollen grains are provided by an insect, such as a bumblebee, or the original wild halictid pollinator, capable of engaging in a behavior known as buzz pollination, which honey bees cannot perform. In an outdoors setting, wind or animals usually provide sufficient motion to produce commercially viable crops.
 
Last edited:

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,950
1,608
Joined Jan 18, 2020
Hot houses use common house fly for pollination.
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,638
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
FWIW, I've been growing tomatoes here for 15 years and this hasn't happened...
The only change I'm aware of is the heat and humidity.....
When temperatures rise above 85 to 90 degrees F (depending on humidity) during the day and 75 degrees F at night, pollen will become unviable.


1626395960714.png

1626395901649.png

1626396025853.png

1626396108032.png


1626396430095.png
 

SmokinEdge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,950
1,608
Joined Jan 18, 2020
FWIW, I've been growing tomatoes here for 15 years and this hasn't happened...
The only change I'm aware of is the heat and humidity.....
When temperatures rise above 85 to 90 degrees F (depending on humidity) during the day and 75 degrees F at night, pollen will become unviable.


View attachment 504229
View attachment 504228
View attachment 504230
View attachment 504231

View attachment 504232
How are the commercial farm growers doing up there? Do they have tomatoes?
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,638
4,062
Joined Nov 12, 2010
You can't fight mother nature...
At 6% humidity and 102F heat, the pollen is not viable....
 

mneeley490

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,881
1,036
Joined Jun 23, 2011
Thanks, Dave. That would explain things. From 12 large plants, I have just ONE tomato. And it's an ugly one, too.
20210717_202416.jpg


I bought this stuff to try to speed things along, but it's done absolutely nothing.
20210717_202637.jpg

(BTW, I was in Winthrop 3 weeks ago when it was so bloody hot. Don't know how you manage in Omak.)
 

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.