Tomato is an edible berry from the plant Solanum lycopersicum. Its name was derived from the Mexican Nahuatl word “tomatl,” which has become synonymous with the English word tomato. The tomato was originally grown in Mexico. Read more about the tomato’s history and common culinary applications. Then, learn about its Pollination process. You’ll be amazed at how delicious and versatile this delicious fruit is.
While we typically think of tomatoes as a vegetable, they have many medicinal properties. The folate contained in tomatoes helps protect the unborn fetus from diseases affecting the brain and spinal cord. The plant also contains flavonoids, which show analgesic properties. These compounds are found in both fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes are often consumed for their flavor, but are also used as medicine. Read on for more information on the benefits of tomatoes.
Tomatoes contain several vitamins and phytonutrients with anti-oxidant properties. One of the best is lycopene, a red pigment found in tomatoes. This powerful antioxidant has a unique molecule shape, making it very effective at deactivating free radicals. Lycopene is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it’s important to eat plenty of tomatoes daily to reap the many health benefits.
Common culinary applications
Tomatoes are available all year round, but they’re at their peak flavor in late summer and early fall. There are more than a thousand varieties of tomatoes, with the beefsteak tomato being one of the largest varieties. There are also a number of smaller varieties and different colors, including yellow, orange, and red. While tomatoes are most commonly characterized by their red color, they can also be eaten raw. They are often used in salads and as a garnish for other dishes.
Although tomatoes are a vegetable by scientific standards, their common culinary applications have created some confusion over their classification. Many of these variations have earned them their reputation as vegetables. Despite this confusion, the fact that tomatoes are primarily used in savory dishes allows for a great deal of latitude in their classification. For example, a beefsteak tomato is often included in salads, but it is not the best tomato for a salad.
Traditionally, tomatoes are wind pollinated, but crowded greenhouses can make this impossible. For this reason, tomato growers have two options for pollination: manually pollinate flowering tomato plants or maintain bumblebee hives. This method, though it may be more expensive, can increase fruit weight by 74% and significantly reduce greenhouse labor costs. Listed below are the benefits of each method. If you’re wondering which method is best for your tomato crops, consider the cost-benefit ratio for each.
The female part of the flower is the anther. It contains pollen grains, which must be caught by the stigma, which is located on the top of the pistil. Pollination is important because it ensures fruit set and prevents misshapen or undersized tomatoes. Here’s how tomato flower pollination works. A tomato’s stigma and anther are both capable of pollinating one another.
Tomatoes fail to set fruit if pollination fails. There are several reasons for this problem. One of them is too high a temperature. High temperature affects pollen viability, and low temperature stunts the growth of the pollen tube. Tomatoes must be planted in spring in order to avoid this problem. Keeping the temperature above 55 degF will help to promote pollination. But to ensure fruit set, the nighttime temperature must be at least 55 degF.
A number of factors can contribute to pollen transfer. The ideal relative humidity range is between 40 and 70 percent. Any lower than that, and the pollen will stick to the stigma and not drop. Likewise, high humidity levels will discourage pollination. In addition to temperature, pollen movement depends on nitrogen nutrition. Excessive nitrogen levels will encourage excessive vegetative growth, whereas low nitrogen levels will discourage fruit set.
Pollination aids for tomato plants may be in the form of artificial bees, bumblebee hives, and electric fans. Using artificial bees is not the most efficient method of pollination, and touching fruit to the stem will create holes. A more practical method for pollinating many tomato plants at once is the use of bumblebee hives. Bumblebees will vibrate the anthers of flowers to dislodge pollen. South Dakota State University Extension suggests procuring bumblebee hives from a biological pest control company. These hives are maintenance-free and are a perfect way to attract bumblebees to your garden.
The best time for tomato pollination is in the early summer, and during this time, the temperatures are still mild enough to support flowering. In the late spring and early summer, growers can expect a good yield. To evaluate the efficiency of pollination aids, harvesting tomatoes three times a week for thirteen weeks is recommended. Pollination aids for tomato plants may be as simple as using a pollination tool. The yield of marketable fruits collected at random around mid-harvest and the number of seeds produced will give an idea of the time needed to pollinate the plants.
Taking proper care of your tomato plants will ensure a productive crop. You can use pruning tools to promote the growth of fruit and foliage. This can also help control pests and diseases. Tomato plants need to be pruned every couple of weeks to avoid developing a single leader. The fruit should fully color before harvest. Some heirloom varieties may retain green around their stems. You can also pick them by hand. Plant care for tomato includes fertilizing and protecting the plant from diseases.
If you find your tomatoes are showing signs of insects, they may be suffering from an infestation. Aphids are pear-shaped insects that feed on plant nectar. Spider mites are white and resemble spiders. These pests move with the plant when jostled. If this happens, use an organic remedy such as insecticidal soap. Another problem is a tomato plant not producing flowers or fruit. The cause may be too much nitrogen in the soil. A common solution for tomato pests is calcium solution. Apply it to the tomato plant and allow it to dry.