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Lawn and Garden

Hot Weather and Your Garden

by Andrew Jozwik
Johnny Appleseed Greenhouses

(click for larger version)
07/01/2012 - I can't believe how hot it has been this year. I have told you in the past about my hay growing hobby. Usually I cut it the first time around the fourth of July. It was so hot this year that I was finished cutting by the 20th of June. That was good for me, but usually the heat makes growing things more of a challenge. For example some plants like fuchsias, pansies, and violas, will not bloom near as well in the heat. The best thing to do with them right now is to keep them watered, and wait for a break in the weather. As soon as it begins to cool down some they will be just as beautiful as ever.

Some plants such as tomatoes and peppers produce better in the heat. If I were a betting man I'd wager that many of you will have the best tomato and pepper crops you have had in years. It is about time we had a good tomato year too, the last two rainy years have made it hard for people to get much fruit off their plants. One tip I give more than any other concerning tomatoes is water your tomatoes (and your entire garden for that matter) in the morning. This will help you avoid "tomato bottom end rot". This sounds disgusting, because it IS disgusting. I can't tell you how many times I have reached for a ripe red beauty on the vine, only to turn it over and find out it is not as beautiful as it first appeared. It is like meeting up with "two face" the tomato -- nice at first glance, but rotten underneath.

How does watering in the morning help prevent this problem? It helps in many different ways; first it gives your plants a good reserve of water throughout the entire time the sun is out. If you water at night your plants have a lot of water during the night, but they might run out of water during the day. Plants that bear fruit will sacrifice the fruit first before the rest of the plant. If you have ever had a zucchini with a shriveled end, getting too dry at one time during its growth was likely the cause. In the case of tomatoes the thirsty fruit is much more prone to develop problems. Another reason to water in the morning is that if you water in the evening on hot days the water will still be evaporating heavily after the sun goes down. Once it gets dark the fruit on your tomato will cool faster than the ground. As the hot water vapor passes by the cool fruit it will form condensation, Moisture like this at night facilitates the growth of all kinds of fungi.

No matter what plant you are growing in this kind of heat the most important advice I can give is, "Make sure they are watered regularly". Good luck gardening, and I hope the heat is your friend, and not too hard on your plants.

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