Love Apple Farms

Why Aren't My Tomatoes Producing Fruit?

Green Zebra Tomatoes 250 px wide
That's a frequently-asked question in the early summer, particularly here in the California Bay Area.  Your plants produce blossoms, but instead of turning into a tomato fruit, they dry up and fall off.  What's a hard working gardener to do? 

Well, understanding tomato physiology and their pollination needs is the key.  Let's get one thing straight: tomatoes don't need bees to help pollinate them.  That's because tomato blossoms are known as "perfect flowers."  They have both male and female parts.  Bees can indeed help the pollination process, but usually the "magic" happens from wind movement or shaking the blossoms.  In addition, a whole set of criteria needs to be satisfied:

1.  Night-time low temperatures need to be consistently above 55 degrees.  If you live where the night temps dip drastically, like most of the Bay Area, then the blossoms fall off rather than setting fruit.  We've had a colder than usual May and June, resulting in lower than average fruit set.

2. Day-time high temperatures need to be below 90 degrees.  In hot conditions, the pollen inside the blossom becomes tacky and non-viable.  No pollination can occur.

3.  Foggy, smoggy, high humidity, or dusty conditions can't be present.  Any one of these inhospitable environmental factors will also prevent fruit set.  Living by the coast or in a smoggy city can definitely hamper your tomato plants.

Now that you know how temperamental tomatoes can be, just be patient and wait for better weather.  Just think what a challenge farmers have who grow in order to make a living!  Yikes!

Photo of the farm

Tour Love Apple Farms

Multiple Dates Available

ChezPim: Butter

October 1


Irrigation is fun!

Simple Drip Irrigation

August 13
Photo of Bon Appetit Cover

Mastering the Art of the Tomato

August 20

Exotic Herbs

September 10

Vegetables of Asia

September 24

Photo of Stewed Tomatoes

Preserving Tomatoes

September 24


Advanced Cheese-Making

August 6
September 16
Fancy Pants Tomato Cookin'!

ChezPim: Tomato Cookery

August 20

ChezPim: Macarons

September 3
November 5

Pretty pretty flowers

Growing Perennials

July 31
Cauliflower Enticement!
Can you Can?

Home Preserving 101

August 28
Bring a Love Apple Farms workshop to your organization!   We'll show your group how to start their own vegetable garden, compost bin, backyard chicken coop, or other home preserving and crafting techniques.  A great idea for team-building as well.  We've got a full roster of informative and fun wellness workshops  Click here for more information.

Love Apple Farms is located at 2317 Vine Hill Road,
Santa Cruz, CA  95065.
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