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How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes

Fortunately, learning how to pollinate indoor tomatoes is as easy as 123. Tomato flowers pollinate with the help of the wind and, occasionally, by honeybees. However, if you’re planning to grow tomatoes indoors, factors such as high temperatures and excessive heat can stunt the pollination process.

How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes

The Basics of Indoor Tomato Care

For the pollination to work, you need to learn the basics of indoor tomato care. Here are some of the things that you need to remember:

 

Water your plants regularly

Regularly check your tomato plant’s soil to see if it needs watering. Stick your finger into the soil and if it feels dry, it’s time to water it.

 

Fertilize the soil each week

Keep your tomatoes healthy and encourage more produce by adding balanced fertilizer. For indoor tomatoes, sea kelp, fish emulsion, or animal manure are all great options.

 

Help pollinate your plants

Since tomatoes are self-pollinating, they don’t necessarily need gardeners or insects to help them pollinate. But you could speed up the pollination process by placing a small fan to simulate the wind or you could hand-pollinate them.

 

4 Ways to Pollinate Your Indoor Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are self-pollinating and self-fruitful. In other words, a single tomato plant can produce crops without having to plant another one. But as we’ve already established, you could help hasten the pollination process by hand pollinating them. Here are a few things you can do:

 

Vibrate your tomato plants using a battery-operated toothbrush

To self-pollinate using a toothbrush, you need to slightly give the vines a little shake by placing the toothbrush at the back of the open flowers. The vibrations will loosen the pollen to encourage pollination.

Place the bristles on the flower stems – not directly on the flowers though! Turn the electric toothbrush on for only a few seconds.

 

Use an art brush

Aside from a toothbrush, you can use a small art brush to gather and deliver pollen to flowers the same way insects do. The brush doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s better to use the ones with natural bristles. In this way, the pollen sticks better compared to plastic brushes.

Gently swirl the brush inside the petals, the pistil, and on the stigma to collect and distribute pollen. However, make sure to always use a different brush if you have several types of tomatoes to prevent cross-pollination. If that isn’t possible, dip and dry your brush in isopropyl alcohol before hand-pollinating other varieties.

 

Use cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are also a great tool for pollination because the cotton can help collect and distribute the pollen. Use the cotton swab similar to how you use an art brush. Another technique is to collect pollen and place them in a small container. You can then use the swab or the brush to manually apply it to the tip of the stigma.

 

Shake your plants

If you don’t have an electric toothbrush, a brush, or a cotton swab, you can slightly shake the plants to imitate shed pollen. You can gently but speedily tap each flower to encourage pollination.

 

When Should you Hand Pollinate?

Hand pollination is not a one-time thing. It’s best to hand pollinate every two to three days when the weather is clear.

Target every open flower until the tomato plant stops flowering. In this way, you’re sure that every cluster has been fertilized. Keep an eye out for fruits that begin to form after the flowers wilt.

 

Why Are Greenhouses a Great Investment for Planting?

Mini greenhouses are great for planting and growing tomatoes and other plants. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons why a greenhouse kit is a sound investment:

 

Protection from unwanted animals and insect

Aphids, rodents, beetles, and other insects and large animals would love to get a taste of your delicious tomato fruit. Additionally, infectious diseases from neighboring plants can easily infect your garden plants. To keep them safe from unwanted animals, insects, and blight, you can plant then inside mini-greenhouses.

 

Great for gardeners who need additional space

If you have limited space or if you need more space to grow more crops, you can invest in a small greenhouse. You can place them anywhere – on balconies, decks, patios, or even on your tabletops. Additionally, you can plant almost anything in them and they’re relatively cheap compared to regular-sized greenhouses.

 

Keep your plants safe from frost

Tomatoes are warm-weather plants, which means they cannot tolerate frost. If you want to grow tomatoes all year round or you want to protect them from unpredictable weather, placing them inside a greenhouse helps. Once the weather warms, you then have the option to transplant them back into your garden.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Pollinate Indoor Tomatoes

Now that you’re familiar with how to pollinate indoor tomatoes, you’d know that there are different techniques to hand-pollination. Although some gardeners prefer to slightly shake the plants, while others use an art brush, you can use whatever works for you and your tomato plants. For best results, you can hand pollinate every two to three days. You’ll know if the pollination works if the flowers begin to wilt and fruit appears.

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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