Yes, it is the heat of the summer and your spring garden may be looking a little stressed. Don’t worry; there are some ways to extend the production of your favorite veggies. When the days get to 85 degrees and night stay above 75 degrees some vegetable plants, such as tomatoes, fail to pollinate. This puts your plant’s fruit production on hold until the temperatures drop.
There is good news, your tomato plants can survive the summer with a little help. First choosing a variety that is heat tolerant is key as well as planting it in the right spot. But you are way past this point now, so if your tomatoes are getting too much sun try using a shade cloth during tomato flowers’ peak pollination times (10AM to 2PM). Have the shade open to the East so the plants can get morning sun but be shielded from the afternoon’s sun. Second, add mulch. A 2-3 inch thick layer will help keep your soil moist. Be sure to reapply mulch as it breaks down over the season. Third, water! Do not let your plant get thirsty and go into survival mode; but do not over water your plants either. Plants need a happy medium. Next, pick your fruit early. Tomatoes tend to stop producing red pigments when temperatures reach 95 degrees and they stop ripening altogether when days reach 100 degrees and nights stay at 80 degrees. So, pick your fruit early and allow it to finish ripening indoors. Picking early will also help ward off pests that will target heat-stressed plants.
For more information please contact Chelsea Dorward at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331 or Chelsea.firstname.lastname@example.org. Information for this article is from How to Grow Tomatoes in Hot Weather from Bonnieplants.com.