39 July 7, 2010

The extended weather report says that we are in for a week of very hot weather. There is also very little chance of rain. With this type of forecast, you will need to pay attention to watering your plants.

As I have said before in this column, watering your plants in the morning is the best time of day for watering your plants. Plants take up water better in the morning. By having adequate water taken up by the plants, the plants have a better chance of surviving this heat wave. Plants being grown in containers will need a thorough soaking in the morning. This is particularly true for your tomato plants being grown in containers. If the soil goes from very wet to very dry over a period of days, your tomato plants will develop blossom end rot on the tomatoes. This wet to dry cycle interrupts the uptake of calcium at the time the blossoms are setting fruit. Over time, the tomatoes will develop a black patch on the bottom of the tomato. The tomato is then prone to rotting. This condition is very likely to happen if you planted more than one tomato plant in a container, or if you planted the tomato in too small of a pot.

You will also need to pay close attention to hanging baskets of flowers. These baskets have a relatively small amount of soil compared to the size of the plant growing in the pot. If you don’t keep up with the watering of the hanging baskets the plants may die.

If you planted trees or shrubs this spring, they can be easily damaged by lack of adequate water during a heat wave. At this point in the season, the root system is not completely developed. A prolonged dry spell can lead to damage to the roots. This in turn will mean damage to the top growth of the trees or shrubs. You can very efficiently water your trees and shrubs by installing soaker hoses around the plants. This type of hose oozes water out of pores in the hose. This allows water to effectively soak down to the roots of the plants.

As you increase the amount of water you give to your plants, you are also washing more of the fertilizer out of the soil. You will need to use water – soluble fertilizers every 10 days and granular fertilizers about every 2 to 3 weeks. Plants need water to live, but they also need fertilizer to grow and to live.

Insects abound in our gardens. You should be out looking at least twice a week for signs of insect damage. If you can catch the insect infestation early, you will be much more likely to stop the problem with a corrective application of a pesticide.

We have started to see signs of a disease on tomato leaves called Septoria Leaf Spot. This disease causes brown spots and tissue damage. Initially, it shows up on the lower leaves. If you see the beginning stages of this disease, spray your plants with a curative fungicide.

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

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