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Tips for successfully growing tomatoes

By :tom bauer
Tips for successfully growing tomatoes

Do you have plenty of flowers on your tomato plant, but no fruits coming from them? The sight of those little yellow flowers withering and falling off your plant can be a bit of a head scratcher. But fear not, there are a few reasons and a couple of cool tricks you can employ to get your tomatoes fruiting.

Make your own pollination

Tomatoes need pollination to grow. If bees or other pollinators are around, you can almost guarantee your flowers will set fruit. However, most tomatoes are self-pollinating, so you don’t actually need our friendly buzzing buddies to grow fruit. If there aren’t any natural pollinators around, gently shaking your plants every day can achieve the same results. This will help dislodge the pollen to the female stigma in the flower, which causes fruit to grow.

Get the temperature right

Tomatoes love some heat and direct sunlight, however when temperatures are above 30c and don’t fall below 24c, it can turn pollen sterile. If you’re in a hot part of Australia, provide your tomatoes with some artificial shade (a beach umbrella is a great option during super hot summer days).

Choose the right variety for your climate

There are so many varieties of tomatoes to suit your climate and growing conditions. Bunnings has a great guide here.

Get the humidity right

Too much humidity can clog the pollen, which causes it not to pollinate. Conversely, in dry areas with low humidity, pollen can dry out, become brittle and fall off the stigma all together. Mist your tomato plants with a spray bottle each morning and afternoon to help avoid this happening.

Prune then correctly 

Indeterminate varieties:

As the name suggests, these types of tomato plants will grow all season long and produce flowers and fruit over that course of time. Left to their own devices, indeterminate tomatoes will grow wildly.

Pruning is done by removing the young side stems, known as suckers, which sprout from the joints of the main stem and the fruit-bearing branches. This concentrates growth where it's most important for plant strength and fruit yield, in theory producing larger, healthier tomatoes. see below:

 

If you are time poor and would like something more suited to an Airgarden, then choosing a determinate variety is the way to go. 

Determinate varieties:

This includes varieties such as - roma, patio, honeybee, siberian, tiny tim and yellow grosse lisse.

Determinate varieties of tomatoes are usually a shorter bush type that blooms over a shorter time frame. They produce flowers and fruit at the same time. After the tomatoes on these plants ripen they die shortly after.

Although determinate tomatoes only produce one run of fruit, they are very low-maintenance. 

If you can achieve all of the above for your tomatoes, you will be well on your way to a bumper crop, however patience is a virtue - stay calm and give your tomato plants some time to shine!

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