June 13, 2012
We are almost half way through June and it looks like the weather has gotten past the extended rainy weather. One customer told me this past weekend that one TV meteorologist said that it looks like we are in for a rainy summer. I reminded her that less than a month ago, we were being told that it would be a summer of drought. Ah, weather in New England.
Over the past weekend, we had many customers who brought in leaf samples that showed signs of fungus diseases. Hopefully, you have checked your gardens and treated for fungus diseases. Many plants also appeared to be suffering from lack of fertilizer. An extended rain can wash away the fertilizer you put into the soil. This is especially true for the newly transplanted flowers and vegetables. These plants do not yet have a big enough root system to “reach out’ for the fertilizer that may be deeper in the soil. You should give your plants an application of fertilizer to help them to get their root system growing and to get the plant to grow.
The rainy weather has also killed off some of the newly transplanted vegetables. Cucumbers and squash were particularly hard hit. We had some small plants in 4 inch pots at the store that were outside during the rainy weather. We had to go through and throw out a bunch of plants that had basically drowned in the rain. Many of you may have had the same experience. We also had similar plants that were in the greenhouse that, naturally, were protected from the rain and they came through fine. The good news is that there is still time to re-plant most of your vegetable plants and still have time to get a good crop. In many cases, if you cannot find plants, you still have time to plant seeds and get a good crop.
Now that the tomato plants are in the garden, it is time to put in place the supports that your tomato plants will need. You can use tomato cages or you can use wooden stakes to help to hold up the tomato plants. No matter what method you chose, you need to remember that even though the tomato plants are small now, they will get big soon enough. The plants will also get loaded up with many tomatoes. The combination of tall plants and the weight of the tomatoes means that you will need a substantial support to keep those plants from falling down. Yes, you can buy the small tomato cages and yes you can buy the 3-foot tall wooded stakes. But sooner or later you will have to add on additional support to keep those tomato plants upright. You might as well do it right the first time and get the bigger supports now and get them in place while the plants are small.
You also should be aware of the potential for your tomato plants to develop an affliction known as blossom end rot. When tomato plants go through a period of wet soil followed by a period of dry soil, the flower buds are deprived of calcium. This will eventually result in a black patch forming on the bottom of the tomato. Once this black patch forms, there is no way to fix the problem. You need to maintain a steady supply of moisture around the roots of your tomato plants. If this is impossible to do, you can spray liquid calcium onto the leaves of your tomato plants. You also can make sure to have sufficient lime applied around the tomato plant. Lime has a large amount of calcium that will help to prevent the blossom end rot.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.