Monday, July 27, 2009

This Week's Garden Tips

Learn to pause ... or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you. ~Doug King

A lesson I learn a couple of summers ago involved tomatoes. Many types of tomatoes won't set their fruit under hot conditions. It was discouraging to say the least and I did some research in case it happened again. This is from Louisiana State University where they have hot, hot summers!

"As we get into the summer and daytime temperatures exceed 90 degrees F, many tomato varieties will not set fruit. Blooming will continue, but fertilization of the bloom will not occur... In theory, if you can keep the tomato plant alive and healthy through the summer, it will bloom and set fruit again in the fall. This is not easy to do. Foliar diseases and insects continue to plague the plant whether it produces fruit or not."

You can try lightly shaking your tomato plants early in the morning and it may help pollination. You can also provide shade during the hottest part of the day. Regular watering may help as well. This can be really frustrating for northern gardeners who usually worry about the cold, not the heat! One year a reader emailed me and told me she took a broom to her tomatoes each morning:) She'd give them a light "brooming" to help them germinate.

Hot weather can also stress out your trees and shrubs even if they have been established for a long time. Azaleas and rhododendrons have shallow roots and need to be watered if they are dry, as well as Japanese maples, hydrangeas and any shrub or tree that's been planted this season. Consider using a soaker hose by spiraling it around the plant and watering it slowly. Try watering for 40 minutes. We bought two willow trees this spring and we were told to water if we didn't get a good soaking rain once a week. The rain seems to avoid our house whenever we need it, so we watered today for about 45 minutes each.

I've been trying to take notes on which plants have been doing the best during this dry heat. It's good to know so they can be grouped together in the hottest parts of my landscape. So far the morning glories, calendulas, moss rose, ice plant, black eyed susan, daylilies, hibiscus and of course most of the herbs have been doing great, and of course the weeds, which never fail to adapt.

We have harvesting tips and recipes for zucchini on OFL:


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