The Bees were in the News Today

Bradybb WA-Zone8May 13, 2014

I just happened to see these two different stories but they could be related in some ways.The fight looks far from being over. Brady

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

So in France the 5 year ban of the pesticides thought responsible for CCD has resulted in no change. Says it all.
Bumble bees used to pollinate tomatoes? Why would anybody pay for that? Insects are not at all needed for tomatoes. They if anything are a problem, cross pollinating my heirloom seeds messing them up for me to save!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 4:24AM
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alan haigh

I won't bother googling it, but I assume tomatoes don't need cross pollination but still require pollination- same as peaches. Don't be under estimating your buzzem buddies or blaming them if they stray.

My natives are more than up to the task as well. European honey bees are only essential, I think, in commercial production, where there is no forage for much of the season for natives. Monoculture is efficient but there are many prices to pay.

The latest concern is chlorthalinal and Indar, that may be poisoning bee babies. Makes me feel bad because I spray quite a bit of Indar.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:06AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I do need them for my musk strawberries, or some bee as one needs male and female plants. Tomatoes can be shaken or the wind, and they will self pollinate. I'm growing
Amana Orange
Amish Paste
Cherokee Purple
Costoluto Genovese
Mrs. Maxwell's Big Italian
Paul Robeson
Rosso Sicilian
Sun Sugar
At least about 30 more I would like to grow. I culled out 9 plants that looked like they had problems, a bummer!
I already found lot's of highly recommended varieties I would like to grow next year.
Amazing stuff going on in the tomato world.

I'm growing ground cherries this year too, what cool plants!
I probably will always grow these now.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:39AM
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alan haigh

OK Drew, you've raised my curiosity and so I looked around and found this interesting article. The writer makes it sound as though wind alone is a bit inadequate for a full crop of tomatoes, but my 10 minutes were up as far as searching further. It did confirm that they can be pollinated by wind alone. You da man.

Here is a link that might be useful: pollinating tomatoes

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 7:01PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

All sellers of tomato heirloom seed bag blossoms to keep bees off, and to make sure open pollinated tomatoes remain true. It is suggested you should bag the flowers if you save and especially so if you trade seeds. Most do not, but all who sell bag the flowers.

You can buy an electric device that really is a modified electric toothbrush to collect tomato pollen. I myself have never had trouble getting tomatoes to self pollinate. Currently bees are scarce and I'm a little worried I may not get many Musk strawberries. I already have tomatoes forming, so no worries there.
Some hybrids are awesome like Sun Gold, it is the cherry tomato to judge all others.

BTW pepper plants same thing! Bag flowers to keep true to heirloom.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 7:48PM
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alan haigh

I just plant my heirlooms a little distance from each other and they tend to stay pretty true. An occasional surprise can be a good thing.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I usually rattle the tomatoes cage's when walking by.
I haven't seen one honeybee this year and maybe not last year either.There are lots of Bumbles and Masons though.
Has your male Musk put out any flowers yet?I'm still waiting to see some. Brady

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:28PM
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alan haigh

I should have mentioned that peppers can be adequately true to seed without too much trouble either, if you are not a perfectionist or selling the seed. Also, that seeds from a plant from a patented hybrid seed can produce plants very close to the patented variety.

One year I bought 8 types of hot peppers and saved the seed from each. Even though they were growing side by side the seed I used the following year all came true. In subsequent years I did start getting some variations, one was a huge Jalapeno type I named Big Hal that I thought was good enough to be of interest to other growers.

Before I got on with any plan of giving away seed I found out the variety was unreliable and the next generation was mostly sweet- and I wasn't growing it next to sweets the year before. Still, I do like surprises for the most part.

I do a lot of seed saving without going to great length (and sometimes no length at all) to isolate the plants. I'd say at least 90% of seeds I harvest come true, probably more that come from isolated plants.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:50AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"Has your male Musk put out any flowers yet?I'm still waiting to see some. Brady"

I bought 3 males, and put them in 2 beds where I have musks, but now i don't remember which is which? So not sure?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:36AM
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