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[Tomato Dirt] Can Your Tomatoes Withstand the Weather?
July 10, 2013

Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 3, Number 12

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! Once or twice a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

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Feature: Can Your Tomatoes Withstand the Weather?

Photo: Colorado State University

You can’t control the weather, but you can help your tomato plants manage weather-related stress. Know what to look for and what to do when Mother Nature presents unique weather challenges like extreme temperatures, too much rain, or not enough moisture.

Too hot?
It’s the tomato blossoms that suffer most during extreme heat – a heat wave will not likely be fatal for the plants, especially if you can keep them watered (read about best tomato watering techniques) and tomato fruit already on the vine will likely be OK, too. Help out the blossoms by providing shade.

Too cool?
Cool midsummer temperatures can inhibit phosphorus uptake (leading to fewer blossoms and purple leaves) and prevent tomato blossom set. To offset the problem, set down black plastic around plants. You’ll trap heat in the ground so that it radiates up to plants, and as an extra bonus, you’ll keep weeds down, too. You can also apply tomato blossom set spray icon to encourage fruit to develop.

Too wet?
Too much rain can water log tomatoes – effectively drowning the roots by blocking air pockets – and allow diseases like blight and wilt to flourish. You cannot stop the rain. But you can spread plastic ground cover around tomatoes that will shed that excess water off plants and into the rows.

Too dry?
Tomatoes need an inch of water a week and up to 3 inches if it’s particularly hot. (That includes rainfall). Offset drought with the tomato watering technique that works best for you.


Tomato Masters Round Two!

Photo: Beth Yarbrough

We’re looking for the biggest (by weight) tomato grown in July. The lucky winner will get Tomato Dirt bragging rights … a certificate … and acknowledgement on the Tomato Dirt website.

How to enter:

  • Take a photo of your tomato on a scale, showing its weight.
  • Submit your entry, either by sending us an email or posting your entry on our Facebook page.
  • Enter by midnight on July 31.

Even if you think your tomato is not all that big, enter anyway. We’re looking forward to seeing what everyone’s growing! Plus you’ll encourage other gardeners. Read all the details about how to enter here.


Special Tomato Tip: “Is This Tomato Ready to Pick?”

You know a tomato is ripe when:
  • It has turned red on the vine (or yellow for yellow tomatoes, pink for pink varieties, and so forth).
  • Its color is even. In other words, ripe red tomatoes don’t have one side that’s green. The entire tomato has color.
  • It is just a tiny bit soft when squeezed. Some gardeners say "in between firm and soft."


More on Helping Your Tomatoes Get Through the Summer …

Is It Too Hot for Tomatoes? Blossom Drop: Help Your Tomatoes Set Fruit Black Plastic Mulch: Why It’s Great for Tomatoes How to Identify Different Kinds of Tomato Blight

That’s it for now. More next time!

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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