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Pollination of Tomatoes

Tomato flowers come complete with both male and female organs and are self-fertilizing. Pollen is shed with great abundance between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on dry, sunny days. Normally, the wind will pollinate the glower sufficiently. To ensure better pollination, gently shake or vibrate the entire tomato plant. The best time to do this is midday when it's warm and the humidity is low. 

Optimum fruit set occurs within a very narrow night temperature range of between 60 and 70 F. When tomato plants experience night temperatures lower than 55 or above 75 degrees, interference with the growth of the pollen tubes prevents normal fertilization. The pollen may even become sterile, thus causing the blossoms to drop.

High daytime temperatures, rain, or prolonged humid condtioind also hanmper good fruit set. If the humidity is too low, the pollen will be too dry and will not adhere to the stigma. If the humidity is too high, the pollen will not shed readily. Pollen grains may then stick together, resulting in poor or nonexistant pollination.  


Have you ever wondered why large-fruited tomato cultivars are sometimes "catfaced" but not the small-fruited ones? This is due to a failure of complete fertilization of the ovule. The larger fruit demand more complete fertilization. This is not a disease but a physiological disorder.


From The Gardener, Vol. 6 No. 2, Summer 1995, a publication of Western Washington University Extension.

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Summer Food in Wintry February

 

16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.


more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News