Well, it's tomato season for most gardeners, or it will be soon! Ever see all of those flowers on your tomato plant and wonder why they aren't producing fruit? Tomatoes are self-fertile but bumblebees usually assist in pollination by vibrating the flowers.
Maybe it's time to give your tomatoes a little bit extra "care and encouragement", in the form of spanking them. Now, we're not endorsing plant abuse here by any means, but what we are suggesting is making sure that all of those tiny flowers get the proper pollination they need to produce fruit.
Generally, tomato plants will have no problem producing fruit here and there, but with the bee population down there's no harm in helping your beloved tomato plants produce as much fruit as they can. After all, you have put in so much time and effort into your garden, wouldn't you like to see ideal results from each and every plant you're growing?
Begin by "spanking" your tomato plants with a light shake of the plant, near anywhere you see flowers.
Greenhouse growers sometimes will use an electric toothbrush or a rolled up newspaper to vibrate the flowers. You can also shake the flowers gently to mimic a bumblebee flying by.
Hand-pollinating or "spanking" your tomato plants is easy, and fun to do. It takes just a moment everyday to walk by your plants and give them a gentle shake.
You can also try blowing directly on the flowers. Many gardeners swear by this little secret!
The most common gardeners who "spank their tomatoes" are growing their plants inside a greenhouse where they are sheltered from wind and flying insects. Less air movement around your tomatoes means less pollination. So start shaking those indoor plants!
If you're growing tomatoes outside, and your plants are subjected to wind, and buzzing insects, it's not as necessary to hand pollinate, unless you see any problems with the plants doing it on their own.
So grab a rolled up newspaper, an electric toothbrush, a feather or just use your hand gently. As you walk by your tomato plants, give those flowers a little shake, a little vibration and help them out with pollination! You won't regret it, and your plants will never be happier!