Growing Tomatoes on the Porch


“I have an enclosed porch that I would like to try to grow some tomatoes but I’m not sure what variety. What type should I look for that will grow in greenhouse type conditions? What are the different types of pollination? I noticed some in the catalogue say open pollination.  Thank you for your time
Salley”

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Hi Salley,

Thank you for the email regarding tomatoes that would do well on your enclosed porch.  Depending on the set-up you have, different varieties will work well for different conditions.

If the roof of your porch has skylights or is glass/clear, then any tomato variety would be fine.  The only thing is that you would need to make sure that the container size corresponds to the size of plant that will grow for
a particular variety.

If the roof does not have light coming through, then you are going to want to go with a shorter day tomato.  During the summer, the rays from the sun are more overhead and would not be able to get in to your plants through the roof.  By having a shorter day variety, you can have the plants growing more in the spring or more in the fall so the sun is lower in the sky and the rays of sunshine will be able to reach the plants.  Some varieties that would work well are Glacier, Siberian, and Sub-Arctic Plenty.

As for pollination, open pollination means that the plant is not a hybrid and seeds saved from the tomato fruits would come back true to type if planted the following year.  A hybrid is a cross between two different parent types and has seeds that would not come back true if they were saved from the fruits.

To pollinate the plants, you need to make sure that they are moved a bit/vibrated during the day.  Tomato flowers are called perfect flowers because they have both male and female parts in the same flower.  By making
the flowers move, the pollen is moved around within the flower and pollination occurs.  Moving the plants can be done in one of three ways:
1.  If you have windows that open in your enclosed porch and the whether outside is nice, open them up and allow the breeze to come in.  Out in the garden, tomatoes are pollinated by the breezes moving the branches.  Let
nature do the work for you!
2.  If you have a vibrating back or hand massager, you can hold it up to the stem and branches of the plants when they are in bloom.  Make sure you don’t dig the massager into the plant because you do not want to damage the stem. Holding it lightly on the stem or branch will be enough.
3.  You can also give the pots of the a gentle shake.  When doing this, the intention is to have the leaves/branches move a little and not to make the plant feel like it is going through an earthquake.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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