Greenhouse pollinating

This tomato flower is double. That’s odd. The pollination will be interesting although I wanted to nip it off, I was overruled by OH who wants to see what happens. Once again I’m reminded that a little botany is a useful thing. Every year I end up posting something about how to pollinate greenhouse crops and every year, I try to remember that there were two years in a row when we had no (repeat no, zero, zilch and nada) aubergines because I didn’t understand that they needed to be hand pollinated.

So … everything botanical wants to reproduce. Most plants need a partner to do this, but the dating agency (as it were) varies – some plants use the air, some use insects, some prefer birds … all that kind of biological stuff. Some plants do both sides of the deal themselves – male and female flowers that self pollinate: corn and cucumbers, for example.

There are plants that are difficult to pollinate – I’ve always had an issue with aubergines except when living in the South of France, and I assume that its because when the pollen is ripe, there aren’t many North-ish European native pollinating insects around to do the job. Peppers do self pollinate, but benefit from some help. Use a paintbrush and moisten the tip before finding an open flower and brushing the stamens – if the pollen is ripe it will stick to the brush. Just move the brush to another flower on the same plant and keep doing that for every open flower – it can double or treble the amount of peppers you get from each plant, if you are diligent about it.

This tomato flower is a single, which is what one would expect – it’s on the same plant as the double, which is not what one would expect. Nature is odd, sometimes!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, July 2, 2012


Blogger Z said...

Funnily enough, I've never had any problems with aubergines setting fruit, though I don't happen to be growing any this year - the miserable weather might well have made an exception to that.

July 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Oh, by the way, I find that some tomato varieties are more likely to have double flowers - some of the Italian ones and Black Russian come to mind.

July 2, 2012 at 10:11 PM  

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