Toothbrush Tomato Trick to Get Better Fruit Set & Flower Pollination

Toothbrush Tomato Trick to Get Better Fruit Set & Flower Pollination


Oh no, what a disappointment one tomato set on this whole truss. Are you having trouble with your
tomato plant setting fruit? If so, try this. G’day, I’m Mark from
Self Sufficient Me, and in this video I’m going to explain the main reasons
why tomato plants don’t set fruit and what we can do about it. Let’s get into it! Before we get into this
electric toothbrush trick let’s go through some of the reasons why
tomatoes may not set on your tomato plant. This is a really good example – you can
see no fruit set here, one on the end. But on the very next plant, they’re all set. Beautiful, coming along nicely. So why is that? Well the first thing is,
different variety of plant. This tomato here is a Thai Pink Egg and they’re renowned for setting fruit
really easily, and setting a lot of fruit whereas this one here is a lesser
known variety called a Black Truffle and it obviously finds it harder to set fruit because you can look up this plant, and
only a few fruit is setting on these trusses. So this is a good plant for me to demonstrate
on how I can help improve production. And along with the variety some varieties of tomato plants don’t
do as well as others in cooler weather. Under cooler conditions,
pollen isn’t as active either. Pollen seems to be a bit more cluggy,
especially on tomatoes. You can notice this if you’ve ever had Cat Face on a tomato. It’s not a disease, it’s the pollen
not fertilising the plant correctly because the weather’s just a bit too cold and because of that improper pollination,
or fertilisation, the tomato becomes deformed. In fact, most tomatoes won’t do as good in a
cooler climate, or at the cooler times of the year. At the moment, we’re in our subtropical winter and it still does get quite cold,
and it’s a little too cold for tomatoes but the reason why I’m growing
them at this time of year is because of Two: Firstly, it escapes the hot humid conditions
through our spring, or late spring and summers where our tomatoes can get easily
diseased through the hot humid weather. And the second reason is there’s
less pests at this time of year. The other fact, especially during
wintertime is the lack of pollinators like bees, hoverflies, and other
insects that pollinate tomato flowers. Through wintertime, there’s not many
of them around, or not as many as usual and if you’ve got a lot of
tomato flowers to pollinate it can be really hard for one
or two bees to find them and get stuck in and do their business. And winter in this case, or cooler weather isn’t the only reason why you
might find a lack of pollinators. It could be as simple as
there aren’t many around. You could be in a desert environment or just in an environment where there
isn’t a lot of bees or other pollinators to pollinate your tomato
plants – that can happen. You could be in an urban
environment, or in a high-rise or on a balcony in the inner city
where there aren’t many bees around. It could be due to the equipment you’ve got. Greenhouses or polytunnels. You might be protecting your tomatoes from other
pests like caterpillars, or birds, or even fruitfly and if that’s the case you could be excluding,
inadvertently, bees and other pollinating insects. Indoor farms in particular, they will have their
own bees to pollinate their tomato crops. One thing you can do if you’re
lacking pollinators in your garden is attract them in using other plants. Tomato flowers aren’t the best
attractant for pollinators like bees. Of course bees love tomato flowers, and
especially if they’re the only one around but what really does attract them are plants like
this fantastic specimen here, this Thai Basil. The native bees and the honey bees
are swarming all over this fella. And what it does is it will attract bees
to the garden from miles away and when they’re attracted to this, they’ll also
branch out and hit the tomato plant flowers as well. Just look at these beauties. You’re not going to get tomatoes
like this, or maybe none set at all if your plant is under stress, so stress
can be another large factor. If your plant is not getting enough water,
if it’s going through a really dry spell or even if it’s not getting enough
food, enough nutrients, fertiliser what can happen is your tomato
plant will go into protection mode it won’t set fruit, or it’ll drop flowers so that it can maintain its strength,
it can keep growing and surviving and then it’ll wait for a later time
when hopefully conditions pick up and then it’ll start setting fruit. So even if the flowers aren’t getting pollinated,
it might throw the flowers anyway and then you’ll still not get fruit,
so that’s another consideration. Is the tomato plant thriving, or is it under stress? Having mentioned all those factors of
why your tomato plants may not set fruit tomato plants really are one of
the easiest plants to set fruit. In fact even the wind itself,
and there’s plenty of that today unfortunately, when I’m trying to film but even the wind itself can pollinate
tomatoes – they’re self-pollinating. Replicating the wind and shaking tomato
trusses and the flowers can work also. So too can a flick. Just flicking the end, or flicking
the base of the flowers not too hard, but just a little
flick like that can work wonders and pollinate those flowers,
turning them into tomatoes. Talking to a tomato plant probably won’t work but it could make you
feel better. How you doin’? But by far the easiest and best and most natural
way to get success like this, is through bees. In some cases the buzz can activate the flower and trigger it to throw pollen into the
air so that some lands on the stigma finding its way down to the ovary,
where the tomato fruit forms. And a great way to replicate or mimic the
action of buzzing bees on tomato flowers is to use an electric toothbrush like this. I wouldn’t use your own – I mean
you can, but it’s a bit yucky. Probably best if you snuck a family member’s
toothbrush out. They’ll never know! Or, you can just go and buy one
and use it specifically for gardening. Alright, watch now for a complete demonstration on how to fertilise a tomato flower
with an electric toothbrush. Oh, it’s flat, that happens to me all the time! How come no one ever puts
it back on the.. I’m only joking! Whack him on and then all you need to do is go
underneath the back of the flower there or even around, doesn’t matter and any flowers that are open in particular because that’s the time
for doing it, just buzz them See how they’re shaking there? Perfect.
Does no harm to the flowers but it vibrates that pollen,
and it replicates a bee. You can do that on the stem of the plant and
that can work, it can vibrate them all at once. But if you’re not finding you’re getting enough
vibration, then go right on the flower there like that. Just turn that off for a second –
yes, it can be a bit time consuming but you can imagine it’s worth it because it can’t be any worse than growing
tomato plants for months on end only for them to produce very little fruit because the flowers haven’t been pollinated. So it really is worth getting
out there and giving it a go. And this electric toothbrush
method really does work a treat. And yes I can already see it
in the comment section already “And Mark, use an electric toothbrush on your
tomato plants and they’ll never ever get cavities!’ Haha. Alright, go on, whack ’em down the comment section,
see how many funnies you can come up with. I’m sure there’s plenty,
and I’ll enjoy reading them. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did,
make sure you give it a big thumbs up and also subscribe to my
channel if you haven’t already. Thanks a lot for watching. Bye for now! I’m just doing it ’cause it’s fun!