Too much rain?

vickima(z5 MA)August 7, 2008

Carolyn posted these comments in another thread:

"As it is, my tomato plants are lousy this year and I am doubtful about any kind of production. Too much continuous torrential downpours, over cast skies and little sun.

I hope, but this just might be a year when things don't work out, sadly."

That's the way it's looking to me too, but I have way, *way* less experience growing tomatoes and far less knowledge about the plants themselves. If it were to dry out (no sign of that here) would the plants recover or do you think there's been too much damage done already?

I can tell by looking at them they don't look right - not as much fruit set, more blight than usual, long spindly branches - but I'm not sure why the rain has had this effect.

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Too much Rain! We've had rain nearly every day for the last 4 weeks. At first I had started spraying my tomatoes with Daconil, but with rain everyday, you can't keep up with it. Early blight has gotten a strong-hold on my toms. I'll have a small crop this year but they'll be a "one & done." I'm not seeing any new flowers and haven't for a couple weeks.

As far as the rain goes, excessive water can keep plants from absorbing the proper nutrients. I believe catfacing can occur from too much water. BER occurs from irregular watering. Lots of rain can also splash the soil which gives fungal diseases like Early Blight a means to travel & spread. Rain & wind can also help spread bacterial diseases like Bacterial Speck.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 7:47AM
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vickima(z5 MA)

Yes, sounds like my experience. I've been using an organic spray, but like you have found that with daily downpours, it just isn't working. It's getting ridiculous, isn't it? I saw today that they shut down racing at Saratoga after part of the track washed out. Hope you weren't close to that one!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 5:38PM
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rickh(long beach, calif)

Would those picnic canopies help cover your plants?
Maybe a makeshift dam?

Or is it the lack of sun?

Best luck.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 7:16PM
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Every other year or so, Or this year.. Xtra heavy rains & hail has caused sever plant damage here in central CT...My plants have done very well until now...Large healthy plants full of fruits..The first problem is the damage. Then the excess water causing splits & unflavorful fruits...Next year I will try the next step in my beds...I have taken the trouble to really add alot of organic matter to the soil so much so they appear raised..This helps I'm sure...I have a small irrigation system to water when needed (i dont like to spray from a hose) Lastly & I say I'm going to do this every year.every year that it rains to much..Install Plastic ground cover the soil so the ground has to shed that excess water off my plants into the rows & away...I'm sure this can work...Not far from here I see farmers growing with this black plastic covers over the rows..Drip irrigation to every plant...Any thoughts on this method I'd like to hear more about it...unclemikect

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 8:58AM
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I recall, here near Albany, the local meteorologist saying that July tied 1858 for the 10th rainiest July on record. And our area got less rain than many of the surrounding areas.

It certainly has been cloudier and cooler than most summers. Personally, I like it, but it's been hell on the tomatoes.

And, of course, May was very chilly; too chilly to get plants in when you would normally plant them in the middle of May. Brrr, nights in the 40s, with a couple of frost warnings for outlying areas. But, despite the chilliness, the last couple of weeks in May were a lot less humid than normal and there were many days of bright sunshine. It was just too cold to plant most annuals.

I believe it was all the sunshine and reduced humidity that caused the roses to bloom 2 or 3 weeks earlier than normal. It certainly wasn't heat that caused it. :-)

I thought about black plastic, but you talk yourself out if it, saying, "Well, next week it will warm up, so it's silly to put the plastic down this late in the game."

Learned that lesson. Weather is unpredictable. :-)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 9:24AM
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vickima(z5 MA)

unclemikect, I used plastic mulch for my tomatoes and still this year I've seen early blight much sooner and more widespread than before, and for the first time I think I've got septoria leaf spot. Of course, I don't know what the plants would look like if I weren't using plastic mulch, and I'm only growing six, but my feeling is that the plastic can't compensate for as much rain and clouds as we've had this summer. Just so you and lionheart don't kick yourselves for stuff you think you should have done . . . :)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:17PM
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Thanks for that, Vicki. Later on, in mid June, I did put black plastic (contractor grade) in an additional tomato bed, created as a home for all those extra plants. Then I just cut holes in the plastic to put the plants in.

It does seem to have kept the ground from becoming soggy around the tomato plants. Yeah, the leaves do look a bit spotty in places. Looks like a fungus, something I'm used to from growing roses in a humid climate. :-)

It doesn't seem to have set back the quality of the tomatoes, as whole plants haven't been consumed by the fungus. And the new growth looks very healthy. Finally got a couple of ripe tomatoes the other day, and they were flavorful and juicy and were a big hit with taste testing at work.

Like with the roses, I'll tolerate the fungus on some of the leaves and clean them up as we go along. But it is not a phenomenon I've seen on tomato plants in previous years.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:53PM
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I somewhat created a triangular greenhouse over my small raised beds with 2 pieces of 1inx2inx6foot wood (lowes 4 bucks and they cut one in half to make 2 3 foot poles!) then I attached the six foot piece of wood to the top with a screw and threw plastic drop cloth ( 2$) over the top and secured with a staple gun. Easy fix and my veggies are growing in spite of the ten days of rain. Take it down for a couple days of sunshine when u can and add water when necessary. Works like a charm. Good luck!! If u want a pick email me. Pretty simple stuff!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 12:18PM
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