For many tomatoes are the easiest way to get started with vegetable growing. And as a summer menu staple, they are an attractive one to have in surplus. Despite being relatively simple to grow, people often feel frustrated when they don't produce as much as they expect them to.
Don’t be disheartened, this simple hack makes growing tomatoes so much simpler. Tomato tapping, as you might have guessed, involves giving your plants a little encouraging nudge. As a result, you will be rewarded with a bountiful crop in your backyard, so much so that you will be practically giving them away.
Here our gardening experts explain the science behind the quirky technique and how you can use it for your gardening.
What is tomato tapping?
Although it might sound like a bit of a hippy practice there is real science behind why this technique works so successfully. ‘Tomato tapping is essential for pollinating the tomato plant by hand,’ says horticulturist Gail Pabst. ‘Tomatoes produce perfect flowers that don’t necessarily need pollinators. A perfect flower contains both male and female reproductive structures.’ What this means is that since each flower contains everything it needs to pollinate, it just needs to be moved around a little to be successful.
‘If you're growing your tomatoes outside, where wind and bugs are, then this likely does this for you,’ says gardening blogger Ren Elizabeth, ‘and tomato tapping isn’t really necessary.’ But when growing in a greenhouse then it is a different story. ‘ The greenhouse is closed and blocked off from the breeze’ she says, ‘so tomato tapping ban be helpful in order to encourage pollination.
How should I tap my tomatoes?
It really is as simple as it sounds, anyone can do it and no specialist tools are required to take this trick to your vegetable garden. ‘A gentle jostle of each flower will do,’ says Ren, ‘It's almost like you're ringing a little bell.’ This simple motion will encourage the pollination process and promote the growth of healthy luxurious tomatoes to rival those of Itlay.
When conducting your tapping be careful not to overdo it. ‘Aim for consistency in the tapping pressure to avoid damaging the plant,’ explains expert gardener Beverly Roberts from Micro Veggy. ‘This rhythmic stimulation triggers a response in the plant, prompting it to reinforce its structural support system. Excessive tapping can harm the plants instead’
What you need to grow tomatoes at home
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Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.
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