Had a conversation with Nancy last week about tomatoes and she told me how her relatives used an electric toothbrush on their tomato blooms, to pollinate them. I have tried it and within days, 4 new tomatoes where blooms once were on the single plant bringing to five the number on this plant.
Offered by John.
With my Tom Thumb tomatoes in my hydroponic garden. I shake 'em in the morning, shake 'em in the evening and they're proliferating out the wazoo. My lettuce has turned out well but even with plenty of light using a 400 watt sodium conversion bulb, I can't seem to get them to go to seed.
Offered by Steve.
Get a box of Q-tips and prepare to use them. Outside, tomatoes are pollinated by insects or, occasionally, by the breeze. If inside, there are no insects or wind. Outside gardeners also experience this problem if they use sprinklers (which scare the bees away and also wash off pollen). Collect pollen from stamen and transfer carefully to calyces of other blooms via Q-tip, and do it every morning before your lights are scheduled to go on. Another useful thought: do your plants receive a breeze? The usual recommendation is to wall-mount a small electric fan that blows constantly on the tomatoes during the "on" part of the light cycle. It both helps to pollinate and evaporates away the moisture produced by carbon dioxide respiration, so it lowers ambient water moisture and encourages the plant to absorb more water by its roots. It also prevents many diseases that are fostered by high humidity.
Offered by Jenny.
I have 6 tomato plants (Greenhouse variety) growing underneath regular fluorescent lights. I am in the process of dwarfing them to 18 inches and I have buds on all but one of the plants. The first plant to bloom did so about 10 days ago and as soon as the bloom opened up, I diddled the bloom (basically I wiggled it with a finger). I did this daily for about three days, then I noticed that the bloom was no longer opening up in the morning. Today I notice that that bloom is no longer a flower at all, instead it is a very small tomato! This plant also has two more blooms that are no longer opening up so in about 5 to 7 days I will have two more tomatoes on this plant. I just wanted to point out that you really don't need anything fancy to pollinate your tomatoes. A finger will work! Shaking will also work. Give the tomatoes a good shaking. Just grab hold of the cage or trellis or whatever and shake it once or twice. Do this every day.
Offered by Roger.