Combating the Heat

gardenmommy_2010July 2, 2011

So, we're about to have 4-5 days of 100+. Most of my garden beds are all right but one of them has straight afternoon sun & backs up to a shed so it only gets hotter. With our last 100 degree temps the tomato plants in this bed got fried blossoms. They're just now getting new blossoms ready to open & I don't want to lose them again. I can see a real pattern emerging. I would like some tomatoes from these plants but am afraid I won't get any unless I can combat the heat a little. I'm planning on misting the plants before the sun's real strong on them and then shading them and giving them extra water. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

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robeb_gw

I wouldn't mist them but shading them sounds good.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 8:19AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

At those temps the pollen isn't viable anyway so all your work won't help much. 100+ degree temps are something many of us have to deal with much of the summer. :)

Check out the Blossom Drop FAQ here for more details on why tomato plants just will not set fruit during periods of especially hot weather/humidity. If you could shade the plants you might gain 10 degrees cooler but even that wouldn't be enough.

Plus all that misting only encourages fungal disease to develop. Focus instead on keeping the plants alive and healthy so that they can then set fruit once the weather breaks.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Blossom Drop FAQ

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 8:20AM
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gardenmommy_2010

Thanks for the info. When I lost my blossoms during the last heat wave it's not that the blossoms opened & then dropped. There were blossoms that were getting ready to open & the yellowish parts turned brown & the blossoms dropped w/out ever opening. Now I have new blossoms forming & don't want them to fry again during the heat. Hopefully the +-10 degrees from shading will protect the baby blossoms! Thanks for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 10:40AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

it's not that the blossoms opened & then dropped. There were blossoms that were getting ready to open & the yellowish parts turned brown & the blossoms dropped w/out ever opening.

That is still 'blossom drop'. :) Much of the time the blossom never opens because the heat and humidity make the pollen tacky/sticky, the bloom turns brown and falls off.

Honest, this may be unusual weather for you but it is standard everyday summer weather for many of us and blooming, pollination, and fruit set all depends on the air temps and the humidity.

Dave

Dave

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:10PM
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qaguy

I'll disagree to a point about the misting. Since the
lady (I assume a person with a handle of 'gardenmommy' is
a lady) lives in Sacramento, the dry heat will lessen
the possibility of fungal disease. Other parts of the
country (those with high humidity) must keep the amount
of water on the leaves to a minimum. But us here in CA can
feel free to get the leaves wet. The low humidity will
suck the water off the leaves fast enough so that fungus
infections are avoided.

I know this is heresy to many, but I've been misting
and getting the leaves wet for many years with few fungus
problems. I was alterted to this by Steve Goto at one
of his tomato tastings.

It (getting tomato leaves wet) is one of those things to
be avoided in most areas. Here though, with the proper
conditions, you can get away with it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 3:47PM
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gardenmommy_2010

Well. I was thinking that blossoms dropping prior to opening might be different from after opening. Guess not. I just hate to lose all the current about-to-open blossoms. And, no, the 100's aren't unusual weather here - all too common which is why I'm worried about not getting any tomatoes out of those plants. Probably isn't the best location for that garden bed. I'm not worried about the other beds.

Thanks qaguy. Someone else here in Sac who grows 100+ tomato plants does light misting on 100 degree days. Think I'll give it a try on a couple plants.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 5:58PM
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qaguy

You're welcome gardenmommy. I'm in SoCal but we share
some of the same problems.

You are mulching heavily, aren't you? That's a must for me.

But you may as well resign yourself to a time where your
plants won't set fruit due to the heat. Happens to me
every year.

Some folks pull their plants and start over when the current
batch gets picked and get a fall crop. Or you can do what
I do and just let them grow with no new fruit until later
in the year.

I have a GW buddy in Sacramento who does a blog. I'll add
it as a link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill's Sacramento blog

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 6:54PM
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suncitylinda

Misting? I was out there drowning my plants twice today in this 100+ dry heat. Trying to cool them off and kill mites! LInda

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 11:22PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Linda,

Ditto here in San Jose this morning!! Last year, I got wiped out by the Tomato Russet Mites. This year, I am spraying water on them daily, and so far, not a single evidence (sugars) of the darn mites.

Raybo

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:46PM
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suncitylinda

Ray- I HAVE tomato Russet Mite which I diagnosed after reading your posts on the subject. I dont have a 14X magnifyer glass but once I saw the similarity and googled it, I could see that is it. Couldnt find any Take Down, BTW, everyone is out. I am using sulfer powder, and ofcourse water. Would like to apply more sulfer, or spray with spinosad, or, some oil base, which I have, but with this recent heat wave, I am afraid I will kill the few leaves that remain! I am getting fruit although I have had to cover the cages with burlap during this heat since the bacterial spec first and now mites have taken all the leaves! Always something! lol! Your posts are very helpful to me, thanks for taking the time to upload pix. Linda

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 3:54PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Linda,

See my Thread ""The EarthTainer "Farm" - July 3"" for new pics.

When you mention "bacterial spec", is this what you are seeing?

On some of my plants, this is affecting some of the lower leaves. Not sure how to treat it. Used Exel LG and Actinovate spray a few days ago - - but no change.

Raybo

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:07PM
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gardenmommy_2010

Ray, I responded to your Earthtainer Farm post - beautiful plants. Mine are nowhere near as big, lush & laden w/ tomatoes. I forgot to ask what you fertilize them w/ & how often. Thanks! My plants inspire to be like yours!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 6:00PM
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qaguy

Septoria leaf spot perhaps? Regular fungicide should
take care of that. I'm not familiar with the two
products you mentioned. Do they cover Septoria?

Of course, any product will not heal the wounds, just
keep the disease from spreading.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 6:02PM
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suncitylinda

Ray, Most of the spots on my tom leaves have gone away (or been cut away!) either from the recent heat or copper soap / Serenade sprays. Seems to me they were smaller and darker, but ya know, after this spring, they all look the same!!! I think i decided it was bacterial speck because Daconil did not help. I also have something else going on with my black cherry. Another thread somewhere said it seemed to be prone to something, started with a b. I have decided trying to diagnose spots on tomato leaves makes one crazy! LInda

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 6:30PM
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qaguy

Here's a couple of links that will either help you or
make you even crazier than you think you already are.

Cornell University vegetable MD Online

Texas A&M tomato problem solver

Good luck! I've just about gone crazy trying to figure
out diseases myself. I just douse everything with the
Ortho Garden Disease Control and hope!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 7:31PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

Linda,

Have you looked at this product?

Claims to work on Spider Mites and is safe for same day harvest on tomatoes (although I would wait a week).

From the blurb:

"""Hi-Yield Indoor/Outdoor Broad Use Insecticide with 10% Permethrin Insecticide controls a wide variety of turf, garden, and ornamental pests. Hi-Yield Indoor/Outdoor Broad Use Insecticide can be used inside homes, in home gardens for labeled fruits and vegetables, and on ornamental plants and lawns around residential, industrial, commercial, and other non-agricultural outdoor areas. Pests controlled include fleas, ticks, carpet beetles, cockroaches, crickets, mites, centipedes, weevils, and beetles indoors. Outdoor insects controlled include aphids, bagworms, cicadas, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, ants, earwigs, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, tent caterpillars, lilac borers, and biting midges."""

Here is the direct link:

http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/hiyield-indooroutdoor-10-permethrin-insecticide-p-1551.html

Just another option.....

Raybo

Here is a link that might be useful: Spider Mite Control

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 3:24PM
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tracydr(9b)

I have sheets up, which I suspended using t-posts. I made the posts taller with PVC zip-tied to the posts so that I have 6 1/2 foot shade structures. The sheets are white and let in some sun, plus sun from the sides. A little white trash but only for a couple of months in the privacy of my backyard.
I mulched with 8-12 inches of pine straw and have soaker hoses underneath. I water every other day for 15 minutes.
I had blossoms until it got to 115, but not much fruit set after 105. I think it had more to do with high night temps even than day temps.
We have some days next week in the high nineties so I'm considering doing some kind of bloom booster, although I normally only fertilize with organic stuff.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 5:38PM
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suncitylinda

Tracydr - I have used sheets before too. Get them really cheap at the thrift store. LInda

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 7:39PM
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