pollinating with toothbrush

sheltiecheJune 20, 2014

Well, it takes over an hour and half to get my �helping pollinating� round. Since I work full time it happens only when it happens.
Thus I have a question- whether it does anything helpful to go just after rain, or in very humid weather etc
Also if you do buzz your cherries plants or just stay with biggies...

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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Are you talking about tomatoes, Linda ?

If yes, then you don not need to do that. Tomato flowers are self pollinating and don't need insects or hand pollination. Unless you are intentionally trying to cross varieties.

I only hand pollinate cucurbits (cukes, squash ..)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:39PM
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labradors_gw

They are self pollinating, but not ALL the flowers turn into fruit. Pollinating with an electric toothbrush really helps.

Sorry that I cannot answer your question Ellen. I know that humidity makes the pollen clump, so I'd do it on a dry day, especially if rain is in the forecast, but that's just a guess!

Linda

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 12:57PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I assume you already know that using a toothbrush or "buzzing" the blooms is just an option, one of many methods, most of which take far less time?

I can finger flick bloom clusters on 50+ plants in maybe 30 mins. tops and cage rattling or plant brushing takes even less time than that That's assuming you believe that some sort of active intervention is even required to begin with. Do you think that most growers actually do that?

But not all the blooms are going to turn into fruits no matter what you do.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 1:13PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Agree with seysonn and Dave/

Linda I'm not sure why you say that using the toothbrush helps, unless you have another of the same variety being grown in the same season and can compare the two directly, one being buzzed and the other one not.

And agree that there's always some blossom drop since more blossoms are made than the plant can support/

Lastly, it's high sustained ( many days) humidity that makes the pollen clump which makes it less effective, which is different from high sustained heat which actually destroys the protein pollen by denaturing the protein.

Carolyn, who has a long timengood friend who gardens in IL, where you are, who has done seed production for me for many years, so I know what the weather is like almost every week, and no way does he buzz blossoms, etc. Best description I ever read was a woman who took a broom to her plants every day, but again, since she had no control she couldn't say if it helped or not. But the visual of whacking plants with a broom has always stayed with me.LOL

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:10PM
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labradors_gw

Dave,

I know we can jiggle the plants to make the pollen fall, but using an electric toothbrush and pretending to be a bumblebee is a lot more fun, plus you can actually see the pollen falling!

In the winter, I used by toothbrush on my Red Robin (windowsill-sized) plants because there were no bees around and no wind inside. Every single flower produced a fruit. Of course, as Carolyn says, we don't know if they would have done that anyway, but I was happy with the result!

Linda

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 2:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah indoors is a different ballgame. Greenhouse growers usually have to do some intervention like a fan or such. But outside it all depends on how you want to spend your time and energy. It isn't as if you won't get lots of tomatoes even if you don't do anything. :)

Lots of time for a little return when, like the OP, there is a job and other demands on that time.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 4:42PM
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sheltieche

Yes, I am aware that it is not a "must do". However our humidity is highly up and are few days of rain now. Since I started using new fertilizer TTF amount of flowers has at least doubled and plants are covered in flowers which is expected result of this fertilizer. So I am willing to give them best chance.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:09PM
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sheltieche

Also am curious to know is there any way to know what is plant expected ability to support blossoms and fruits, i.e. how loaded is loaded one can expect plant to be?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:19PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Also am curious to know is there any way to know what is plant expected ability to support blossoms and fruits, i.e. how loaded is loaded one can expect plant to be?

%%%%%%

Linda,no one can really answer your question since there are so many variables involved.

Variety X may do fine in one summer with high yield and great taste, but the same variety the next year can have a lesser fruit number and not taste so good,

It;s also true that what a variety is capable of is determined primarily by tthe genes it has, but just too many variables involved to speculate.

Some of the many variables might include:

Where, geographically ,the plants are grown.

Weather in the seasion grown which can influence blossom drop, pollen denaturation and clumping of pollen/ And those variables can determine fruit yield and taste.
How the plants were grown,meaning staked, caged, sprawled, trellised, containers, and whatever

What amendments were used, if so which ones, how much and when used.

... to name some of the variables.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:39PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I think Linda is right.
She wants to make a difference in her garden. Maybe nobody can prove the effect of hand pollinating tomatoes, but if itgive ME (eg) a satisfaction and believing that it makes some difference, I'll do it. THAT IS WHAT IT COUNTS.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 10:54PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

There's a large difference in hand pollinating blossoms,which many do using a q-tip with chosen pollen and directly placing pollen on the stigma, as opposed to facilitating pollination, whether it be by whacking plants with a broom, or using an electric toothbrush or as one person recently posted elsewhere, using a sex toy to vibrate the blossoms.

Hand pollination is done by many breeders, mostly the home gardener kinds, who have bred some great tomato varieties.

Hand pollination used to be used by professional breeders after emasculating the blossoms first to eliminate self pollenization, but these days the professionals use mainly what are called male steriles, which eliminates the labor of emasculation, so that the specfic chosen pollen can be directly done by hand pollination.

Summary?

The usefulness of hand pollination is know by both home folks doing tomato breeding, and of course can be documented via the results, but what Linda is doing is not hand pollination with specific chosen pollen, it's trying to increase total pollination by vibration,nothing specific about it.

And if Linda and others want to do that, fine, but it's impossible to document how effective it is unless two plants of the same varierty are grown in the same season and one plant not buzzed or whacked, so that a direct comparison can be made, as I wrote above.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I think Linda is right.
She wants to make a difference in her garden. Maybe nobody can prove the effect of hand pollinating tomatoes, but if itgive ME (eg) a satisfaction and believing that it makes some difference, I'll do it. THAT IS WHAT IT COUNTS.

No one said either Linda in the discussion was wrong.

But lindalana, the OP, indicated it was also turning into a time consuming and somewhat conflicting activity due to work and other demands plus weather.

So the point was made that it is just an option, not a requirement. Nor is it something to be overly concerned about if it can only be done as time and weather allow.

If it gives you a sense of satisfaction and you enjoy doing it fine. When it becomes a source of stress or worry, forget it.

The plants will still do just fine and that is what counts.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:43AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

So the point was made that it is just an option, not a requirement.
%%%%%%%
Both Linda's already know that it is not a requirement. And nobody has said that it is either.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 4:05AM
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sheltieche

Thank you very much for suggestions and advice!
hmm, it is disturbing to hear that no research is known on benefits using toothbrush and how much it helps or does not help pollination.
We are in week long rainy every day weather with lots of humidity. Preliminary results while I am seeing increased blossom drop of last week compare to previous ones it still seems tomatoes setting plenty of fruit.
Yep as Dave mentions gotta find some balance between time consuming chore and need to help plants along... Add to it nearly continuous varied fungicide applications due to all this humid rainy weather it surely takes quite a chunk of my time. However on big plus side amount of green tomatoes my plants are setting is outstanding. If I can keep fungal problems at bay we are looking at very pretty results!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:31AM
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sheltieche

my today pics

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 12:56PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

it is disturbing to hear that no research is known on benefits using toothbrush and how much it helps or does not help pollination.

&&&&&

I'm not disturbed and IMO you shouldn't be either.Who would furnish grant money to do such research, same for a home grower as to cost and space needed/.

How many different toothbrushes would they have to test, not all are the same, as in how my rpm's/whatever.

How many varieties would they have to test with just one kind of toothbrush, and is doing it in one geographic location enough?Nope. And in one season to cut down on the variables? No way.

I could go on and on here and set up an experimental protocol, but won't, b'c it just isn't going to happen,( smile)

Carolyn

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:40PM
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