Tomato Pollination.

18 Feb 2007
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United Kingdom
I am trying to grow tomatoes for the first time. I have bought seedling and transplanted them. They are presently showing signs of the formation of a couple if Trusses on each plant with yellow flowering.
Do these plants need to be out in the Greenhuse now so that insect pollination can occur, or is that unnecessary .
I have bought a temporary plastic greenhouse, the ones with a reinforced covering. As these covers are quite thick and opaque with green reinforcement, do these type of greenhouses present a problem for tomato development due to the effective UV/sunlight light shielding.
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Now that it's flowering you want to be feeding with Tomorite once a week or so, and generally keeping it well watered. As for pollination, you don't have to rely on insects really: just get a soft, small paintbrush (the type used for art not decorating!!) and brush the flowers lightly.

Whether or not they're flowering now, I'd have them in the greenhouse now.
Thanks JD, The reason I am not in the greenhouse yet is the cold weather and no heating. presumably if I green house them now I will need some form of heating?
What is your view on these Greenhouses to which I refer I am rather concerned about them getting enough sunlight as the covering is opaque and reinforced with green webbing.
Where are you in the UK? I'm in Lancaster and would happily have toms outside now, even outside a greenhouse. You may wish to acclimatise them by putting them outside during the day only for a week or two, but I never bother with that.
As for the greenhouse side of things, I've never used one like that, but if they're billed as a greenhouse surely they'll be ok?
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Eyup Hysteresis,

You cannot beat the flavour of freshly picked toms so keep up with your plan. Sounds like you are well ahead of me, only getting the second leaves but I planted a little late this year. Problem with planting early is they get tall and spindly real quick as not much sunlight around so they grow tall to find it and it makes them weak.

What you need to worry about is making sure they don't get too cold at night (frost will totally stuff them), plenty of water when growing, and feed them lots too. Give them a good long bamboo stick to climb up and make sure you tie them in.

There are things called grow pots which allow you to plant them in their final position really deep so you get new roots from the stem. Bury them down to the first set of leaves and new roots will form. This is good when you water them loads when the fruits are forming.

I wouldn't worry about pollination, the insects will get to them unless you seal the thing up hermetically. Plenty of sunlight around right now too and whatever you put them in will be fine. They will grow outside no problem as long as it's not too cold so I'd wait a few weeks yet before leaving them out.

You could always look on this year as learning about them, this time next year you will be an expert.
if you have some spare ones, lob them in the ground, preferably against a sunny wall. In the ground they won't be so demanding of watering and feed, you can mulch round them heavily with grass cuttings to suppress weed growth.

you haven't got to pay so much attention to them as if in pots or bags, but they will need spraying. If the weather's good you'll get quite a crop.
good point about the roots, they will root from the stem if it touches the ground, sometimes this is handy if they fall over.
Sorry guys, one more fundamental question from a tomato growing Numpty.
I am going to finally pot up each of my tomato plant into 10 litre pots filled with the contents of tomato grow bags. I arrived at the 10 litre size as the grow bag suppliers recommend three tomato plants per grow bag, therefore I can fill say 6 - 10 litre pots with the contents of three grow bags.
Is my logic sound or do I need bigger pots that 10 litre ones.
I know these questions are very basic, but after last years attempt, I am confirmed as the Numpty of all Tomato growing Numpties, I therefore need advice which to you guys will seem obvious.

JD asked where I was located, well I am effectively due East of you, I am in North Yorkshire.
This is the way to plant a tomato (well it's one of many but this works well)


Those are the grow pots I mentioned earlier. Grow pot gets buried in the grow bag.

Tomato plant goes in central pot and is earthed up all around using compost from another bag, just get a big bag from the garden centre to top them up. This will cover the stem for another 6 inches, but roots will grow out of that.

When you feed, you put that in the central part of the pot around the stem - diluted, not neat feed (as an aside the best toms I grew was when I fed using seaweed extract). You can also spray as foliar mist.

When you water you water in the ring around the central pot. This means the water goes into the grow bag itself so keeps it nice and wet down there. You might end up feeding, say, every week but watering every couple of days. Depends on how hot it gets.

There is plenty of compost there to keep them going for the season.

It looks a lot more complex than it really is. I am sure there must be loads of youtube videos showing how it's done. Search for 'tomato growbag'

But that's how I would plant them out.
Thanks Chapeau,
That all looks very professional. I have never seem those pot thingies before and that is my job tomorrow to source them.
If I ever got tomatoes as good as that I think I would consider my self an expert. Absolutely fantastic.
I doubt I could ever achieve anything approaching that.
Thanks for the help and advice.
Tomatoes don't really need insects to pollinate. their male and female parts are so close together a little shake of the plant every so often will be enough.

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