Make Like a Bee & Help Pollinate Your Tomatoes

growing tomatoes

David L. Green is a gentleman we e-met on Facebook, who has a great deal of knowledge about the pollination process. In many cases, we consider him to be a go-to expert.

On a few occasions, when a fellow gardener asked about lack of pollination on their tomato, eggplant and/or pepper plants, he advised them to use a tuning fork to help move the pollen about the flower and increase the plant’s chances of producing fruit.

What a fascinating concept.

Music is much more complex than you might think.
It has a mathematical component and also a physical side, and is part of the fiber of nature itself.

The most common tuning fork will vibrate at the same frequency as the note middle C, which is about 250 hz.
What is interesting is that this approximates the frequency of the beating of a bee’s wings.

You see, bees can help move pollen in 2 ways. First by getting it on themselves and then getting it on a female flower. This is the way a bee can help squashes for example, and the way most people think of bees helping.

The other way is the vibration caused by the beating of their wings.
In this way bees can help plants whose flowers have both male and female components, such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
The vibration can help shift that pollen enough to get it on to the female reproductive part, helping it to develop fruit.

Of course this is not the only way to move pollen on these plants, the wind can help also as can other insects.

For those gardeners who live in an area where there is not a lot of breeze or bees, the tuning fork is a simple and successful solution.
Just whack it on something hard, and touch the fork to the flower’s stem.

Be the bee, so to speak.

Thanks David!

Here’s an inexpensive one that we purchased:

July 12, 2014  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Gardening, Techniques & Issues

5 Responses

  1. Nancy - July 14, 2014

    Wow! What a great piece of information! I will try this on my ever-constant attempt at growing tomatoes indoors in winter.

  2. gj - July 17, 2014

    Thanks Nancy and good luck! We have actually seen the pollen come from the flowers, it is amazing.

  3. Gloria Monroe - July 28, 2014

    Great idea!!!
    Thankfully I still have pollinators where I live, I am doing my best to educate anyone I can about the dangers of pesticides to our pollinators and the human race !

    Happy Gardening!

    God Bless! TOL!

  4. lea - August 2, 2014

    Dear gardeners, does anybody know how to grow black currant bushes? I had 3 of them for about 8-9 years, each year they gave me lots of berries for preserves and raw holdings. Then the the branches started growing somehow cris-cross almost across,I decided to fix that, so I to cut out the deformed branches and probably made a “bo-bo” cutting off and out too much leaving in each bush just 3-4 cut-down to 1-1.5 feet above ground old branches and very few new stems coming up from ground. This spring the picture was quite sad.. There were just a few new branches growing out from the old cut-offs and not a single new growth perking up from the ground.. The leaves hanging downwards like old rugs getting yellow, the new growths from old branches so tender, braking off by occasional touch. One bush got all-over brown and died out, with the two bushes left I’ve been struggling since then. I water them properly, fertilized with manure, with Miracle Grow, with some specific ultra-growth liquid I purchased in Home Depot,-3 weeks passed,-no results yet. The plants are in desperate need of some element, but what might that be? Any experience, suggestion?Please help!

  5. gj - August 3, 2014

    We had something similar happen to an over pruned forsythia bush. The following year, not one single flower. We just left it alone and it came back the year after that. I can’t say what you should do, but realize the bushes are suffering from too much pruning, and they are in shock. It might be best to just give them some time to recover. Since you lost one already though, I don’t know of anything can help. I learned later to never prune more than 1/3.

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