The next several weeks will be hard on many types of vegetables and flowers. With the hot temperatures and the lack of rainfall, so you need to be making plans on how you will handle watering during the coming days and weeks. Most of the time you need to water vegetables and flowers early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This will allow them to get the most out of the water you are giving them. Most of the time keeping the soil around the roots wet will allow the plant to do the best it can.
One of the hardest things to do is to keep flowers or vegetables that grow in pots watered. Many times the pots are not deep, so the roots can’t go that deep. So making sure to keep the soil in the pots wet, it is harder to get the moisture back into pots soil. Than it is to just keep them watered, so make sure to water at the right time of the day to get the most of the watering you are doing. This time of year is also the time that most of you are seeing many of your vegetables getting put under some type of growing pressure. In the past few days I have had a few people contact me about problems with their tomatoes. One of them was yellowing leaves. This is mostly caused by a wilt. If you were able to catch it at an early stage might be able to treat it with a fungicide. But once the tomato plant has the wilt they usually die or create small tomatoes. I would remove the yellow leaves as they turn yellow. Working the soil up to allow air and sun into the soil and root system might help to prolong the tomato plant from dying. Also using some fertilizer will help prolong the life of the tomato plant if started early enough. A strong healthy plant can handle diseases better than an unhealthy one. Things you can do to fight the wilt for next year’s.
Plant resistant varieties of tomatoes for next year. Move tomato plants to different part of the garden. Use good sanitary gardening practices. Another tomato problem that you begin to see this time of year is blossom end rot. This is caused by uneven or inconsistent watering and a lack of calcium in the tomato plant. When watering water as needed, I like to water late in the afternoon and when I see the soil around the tomato plant drying out. So if you think that watering is your problem you can correct that one easier than the lack of calcium. Many times if you are lacking calcium this time of year you can try to get some form of liquid calcium. I was telling a customer who called the other day about blossom end rot. I didn’t even think about them not water evenly or inconsistent watering. I told them to get some type of liquid calcium into the root zone of the tomato plant.
One way they could do it would be to take some lime and mix it with water, do this until you have a liquid that looks about like weak milk. Then pour it around the base of the tomato plant. Also I think you should be removing any coming on tomatoes. You don’t need to leave diseased tomatoes on the tomato plants. During the past few days I have been seeing several people starting to get some sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, greenbeans, onions and other types of midseason vegetables from their gardens. I have been able to harvest greenbeans, tomatoes and could pull some onions just letting the onions get bigger. Now is a good time to be making some plans for the 2021 growing season. You can be deciding what vegetables are doing good for you and which ones aren’t growing where they are now. I already know I should put down more mulch around the greenbeans. Where I was able to get mulch down between the two rows of greenbeans growing within 4 inches of each other I don’t have any weeds and the moisture is still in the ground. I have been able to pull and hoe weeds along the sides of the greenbeans. Start to put more organic matter on the garden when I can. I will start building up my compost pile with grass clippings and other types of organic matter. I also plan on putting down more cow manure from where we have fed hay the past few winters.
I plan on building two more raised beds for strawberries and some other type of perennial vegetables. Planting some grapevines in a new location too, only after I get some good organic matter down into the trench I will use to plant the new grapevines into. The past several days Laura has been very busy working on landscaping in the front of the house. She and Hillary plant several mosquito plants in groups in pots and placed them around the front porch. This has really been a help in keeping the mosquitoes away from us. She has moved an old bathtub and used it for many types of flowers and plants in pots surrounded by rocks. This is in front of a statue of The Blessed Virgin Mary all surrounded by several glow in the dark lights. She is already making plans for what we need to do once the flowers in the perennial flowerbeds are finished flowering for this year.
Now is the time of year you need to be looking at cleaning up the flowers and flowerbeds, both perennial and annual. Once the flowers are done blooming and have dropped their pedals and blooms. You need to be pruning them back and cleaning the locations they are in. Now in years past Laura and I have been able to pick the seed heads from many types of these flowers, both annual and perennial. Several members of the South Shelby Adult Horticulture Class do this every year. Laura will pick coneflower seed head and break them up and scatter the seed in places we want to start coneflowers in future years. We have also done this with Shasta Daisies seed heads too. Do this a couple of years in a row you will see the new plants start to grow. The easiest types of annual flowers to get seed heads from are Marigolds and Zinnias. So start looking at doing this as you begin to cleanup your perennial and annual flowerbeds. When you start to do some planning now for the 2021 growing season you can be on the lookout for deals on the items you need for 2021. Also you can start to do some design work now and play around with the ideas and how they will work into your plans for 2021.
I always appreciate all your questions and look forward to them. If you have any questions please call me at Shelby County Implement 573-588-2040. Or better yet come out and see me here in Shelbina. So THANKS for all your questions in the past and your questions in the future. Remember Stay Safe & Healthy enjoy the Great weather and the produce you are able to get from your gardens Hoping you also enjoyed this issue of the Hort. Report.