I learned something useful today.
Aside from living in a state that refuses to acknowledge winter, Florida is blessed with year-round, fresh produce. There is a well-stocked Farmer’s Market somewhere close on any given weekend, every weekend.
One such market is held in my hometown on the first Saturday of each month. It’s small in comparison with other markets, but it’s all locally grown, and the people are southern friendly.
I was schooled in tomato husbandry at a booth where ripe, red toms were sold. Not much tastes better than a REAL homegrown tomato. They actually taste like sunshine, and not soggy cardboard like so many hothouse ‘maters do.
I’ve tried to grow my own. I have a nice big, sunny backyard. My Mister even built me two, large above-ground garden plots. I have gorgeous tomato plants, covered in bright yellow blossoms… until I don’t.
In three years, I think I had, maybe, two tomatoes grow to fruition. TWO! Just when you expect the blooms to morph into tiny green fruit, they DROP. OFF. I tried moving potted plants to my patio so I could adjust direct/indirect sun accordingly. I watered religiously, fed them, talked to them, pleaded with them. Nothing helped.
I lamented my brown thumb to the grower while he bagged my toms. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “you need to pollinate the blooms. Just use a Q-tips, and dab a little pollen from one plant to another.”
Said it like it was as obvious as, “you gotta breathe to live.”
Day-um! If I’d known it was that easy, I would’ve had bumper crops every season.
Now, I can’t wait until next spring to try my hand at a little tomato sex.
I’m grateful for:
1. Year-round Farmer’s Markets
2. Homegrown tomatoes
3. Illuminating farmers
10 thoughts on “Safe tomato sex”
“southern friendly”, I love it! I’m also very envious of your year round markets and maters, only just a little north of you, but we don’t have that wonderful blessing.
I planted 40 tomato plants of all kinds, thinking that I would be lucky if I got any at all. This was the first time anything had been planted on our land in sometime like 20 years. Let’s just say, next year I won’t be planting 40!
LOLOL!!! Well, whatever works.
Homegrown tomatoes! I’ll wear gloves…
Haha “a little tomato sex”… Good luck! As you say, there’s nothing better than a homegrown tomato!
I love farmers markets and home grown tomatoes, too. And my hubby built me raised beds, too. My tomatoes did great, until they were stricken with blight. They were beautiful and then they were fungified. It was very disappointing.
Try planting things that attract bees – like bee balm. I have lots of bees in my garden which do the pollinating for me.
I like the idea of having bee-enticing flowers. We have a lot of hummingbirds here too, and they would be equally attracted to those. I have so many plans for spring now!
We’ve had varying success with our tomatoes over the years, but usually grow enough to keep us happy for the summer. Didn’t realize you could pollinate them yourself! Huh!
Sure would love to have fresh grown tomatoes year-round. Tomatoes are definitely only a summer thing here up north.
Have fun stimulating the growth. It’s sad the bees aren’t able to live to do their job (or anyway, I’m guessing that’s part of the issue), but I’m glad there is a work around. I had to adapt when we moved down here. In Ohio, we groaned at Florida produce, as it was often everything but real. Now that Florida is next door, we get the GOOD stuff from Florida (and some from South Alabama.) Yummm.
I was actually talking to another friend about the lack of bees around here. Funny, since another friend raises them for honey.