E-mail -- pollination

Happy 4th of July!

 I will be posting many past E-mail's this month.  I am always happy to get grow questions!!!  Please write if any topic is not covered or you want more details about topics you read in past blog posts.

Hi Dr. Myers

You have answered questions from me in the past and I do have another one. In addition to my indoor garden, I have an outdoor vegetable garden. I  just recently moved these plants inside my screen-enclosed pool area. Question: Do tomatoes , peppers,etc rely on bees and other insects to pollinate and create the fruit ? So if these vegetables are enclosed..... they will not ever produce fruit because insects and bees cannot get to them..... is this correct ?
thanks in advance

Thanks for your E-mail. I am always happy to help, if I can. You have a good question, the answer is it depends if the plants are self pollinators or cross pollinators. Cross pollinators are plants that produce flowers that are usually big and showy (iris, rose, orchid) commonly the male and female flower parts are contained within the same flower  (Link to plant sex parts) but for genetic of physical regions the plant cannot fertilize itself. These plants usually need an insect pollinator or if you are breeding YOU to help them get fertilized. (link to animal vs. plant pollinators)  self pollinators do not need an insect or other mechanism to create fruit. Wind pollinated plants put their pollen into the air and it should pass through a screened in area. These plants usually have small flowers, like grass, if you notice your yard gets ‘funny’ things on the tips in the spring or fall, these little ‘things’ are the flowers.

Insect-pollinated vegetables that won't produce fruit well in an enclosed area without your help or insects are: cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, muskmelons, mustard, okra, parsnip, most peppers, pumpkin, rutabaga, squashes, turnips, and watermelon You may want to collect some pollen from some of your pepper plants all the flowers should produce it, and use your finger or a brush etc. and put the pollen from one flower (or better yet from one plant) into another. Look at my past blog posting about how to transfer pollen.

Wind-pollinated vegetables include: beets, chard, all types of corn, and spinach.

Some self-pollinated vegetables safe to grow screened in are: bush and pole beans, lima beans, chicory, endive, lettuce, most peas, and tomatoes. These plants don't need any help they will produce fruit if they get enough light and nutrients.

Good growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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