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Since tomatoes are self-pollinating flowers that are equipped with both male and female parts, just one tomato plant is capable of producing a crop. They are normally wind, and occasionally, bee-pollinated, but if not, they could use a little help.
When Is the Best Time to Pollinate Tomato Plants?
Pollen is normally shed from morning till afternoon. Midday on warm, sunny days with low humidity is the optimal time for hand-pollination.
The first thing you need to do is to locate the pretty yellow flowers. Then find the place right behind the flower by the stem. Be prepared to vibrate this area to distribute the pollen inside the flower. Remember, you must have a gentle hand so that you don't destroy the flower.
All you need to do is give the vine a little vibrating with a battery-operated toothbrush. Place the electric toothbrush just behind the open flowers and gently shake the plant. The vibration loosens the pollen inside the flower, which causes pollination.
Place the bristles of the toothbrush on the stem of the flowers—not on the flowers themselves—and turn it on. This is how a bumble bee would help. You only need to vibrate the flowers for a few seconds.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2017:
I would never have thought to use an electric toothbrush to pollinate tomato plants. Great idea! Using an old toothbrush just for that purpose makes sense.