34July 4, 2012

The hot weather is back and it looks like it is going to stay around for most of the week. Hot and humid weather can have a major effect on your plants. For example, when the temperatures hit the 90’s, the tomato flowers are not properly pollinated. Ultimately, the flowers don’t turn into tomatoes. You can get around this by spraying the tomato flowers with a product called Blossom Set. This spray “ sets” the tomato flowers and completes the pollination and thus allows you to get tomatoes being produced during the hot weather.
As you can imagine, the hot weather means that your plants will need more water. The best time of the day to water your plants is early in the morning. Plants naturally take up lots of water early in the morning. This allows them to have the water they need to survive the heat of the day. I think the natural tendency for humans is to water the plants in the evening. You must be very careful if you water late in the day. The water should be poured at the base of the plant. Many people will stand out in the garden and spray water onto the plants with a hose nozzle. Plants that go into the night with wet leaves are an open invitation to the development of fungus diseases on your plants.
As the warm weather gets your plants to grow at a faster rate, you need to be giving your plants the fertilizer necessary for optimum growth. If you do not fertilize your plants, they will grow slowly, they will be less likely to produce flowers and in the case of vegetables, this means fewer vegetables. The fertilizer container will tell you how much you need to apply and how often you need to apply the fertilizer. No matter what type of fertilizer you chose, it is important to follow the schedule that is printed on the container.
Insects continue to thrive in this weather. The Japanese beetles have arrived in many yards and they are definitely hungry. You should have your beetle traps set up and you should be spraying your plants with an appropriate insecticide to minimize the damage caused by the Japanese beetles.

Hot weather is also a good time to kill off those nuisance weeds that have invaded your yard. You do have to be careful applying some weed killer at temperatures above 85 degrees. At this warm temperature the weed killer tends not to stick to the leaves. Warm days are a good time to spray poison ivy. When you spray the poison ivy leaves, make sure that you add a bit of liquid detergent to the spray solution. This helps the spray to stick to the leaves. Remember that any spray that will kill poison ivy will also kill any other plant. If you accidentally spray good plants, immediately apply water to the leaves of the good plants to wash the spray off the leaves and to dilute the spray solution in the soil.

There are some good organic weed killers that contain commercial strength vinegar or they may contain clove oil. Either of these products kills the leaves of the weeds. It may take several applications over a period of weeks to control the weeds. These sprays should not be used to control lawn weeds and they should not be used in flowerbeds. These weed killers will kill the grass and they can also kill your flowers.

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

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