33July 07, 2016

The 4th of July is behind us. The weather was nice and people were able to get out and celebrate without having the cookout or the fireworks rained out. All in all, not a bad weekend.

We are in desperate need of some rainy weather. What we need is a day or two of a slow and steady rain. The soil is so dry that the rains that we would get from say a thunderstorm would most likely just run off the surface of the soil. The issue is that with water bans, you are limited as to when or even if you can water your plants. You can take a watering can and water your containers of flowers or vegetables. You may even be able to use a watering can to do your vegetable garden. I worry the most about the established trees and shrubs that are growing in our yards. The soil is very dry even into the deep parts of the soil. This will prevent established plants from getting the water they need to survive. Again, you may be able to water your shrub border, but how would we ever get enough water to those huge maple trees in our yards? What the outcome will be only time will tell.

Many of you have told me that your tomato plants are beginning to flower. If your tomato plants are beginning to flower, it is critically important to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. If the soil moisture level goes from wet to dry each day, this will create the problem with your tomatoes called blossom end rot. In the past, you may have had tomatoes that developed a black patch on the bottom of the tomato. This black patch is blossom end rot.

When you water your tomato plants, you need to make sure that the soil is moist. This can particularly be a problem if you are growing tomato plants in containers. If the container is too small or if the soil doesn’t hold sufficient moisture or if you have more than 1 tomato plant in a container, the soil in that container is going to dry out fast. You may water the soil in the morning, but on a hot and sunny day, the soil may be dry again by noontime. When you water your container grown plants, you need to add enough water to insure that the soil is moist from the top of the pot to the bottom of the pot. This may sound like a simple task but you need to slowly water the soil so that the water seeps all the way through all the soil. A quick watering with a gallon of water may only wet the top few inches of the soil. How much water you will need will depend on how dry the soil has gotten. In a big container, you may need as much as 5 gallons of water. This would be equivalent to 2 and 1/2  big watering cans! When you water, just be sure that your plants get enough water.

Blossom end rot is the result of a calcium deficiency set off by the soil going from wet to dry. You can use fertilizers that have added calcium to help to prevent blossom end rot. There is also a spray called Rot Stop that is liquid calcium that you spray onto your tomato plants. We have this product in our store. Any of these steps you take now as the tomato flowers are blooming will help to prevent blossom end rot. Remember that you need to keep soil consistently moist, make sure that the fertilizer you use has additional calcium or spray your tomato plants with liquid calcium. Taking these steps now means that you will have a healthy crop of tomatoes in a month or so.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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