Grape, Cherry Tomatoes Can Take High Heat

by Ms. Grow-It-All on June 23, 2011

in Weekly Column Archive

Q: My tomato plants have stopped producing. They did great earlier this season, but now the flowers fall off without setting fruit. What do I do?

A: Wait for cooler weather. Most varieties of tomatoes will stop producing fruit when temperatures soar above 85 or 90 degrees. Once it cools off, they’ll start producing again. Keep them watered, trim off dead or dying branches and try to do both early in the day.

There are several varieties on the market now that are supposed to keep producing in high temperatures, although I don’t know if anything can handle the record 105-degree F. days we’ve had lately. If any gardeners have had success with them, email me at the address at the bottom of this column and I’ll let readers know.

In the meantime, stick with the cherry and grape tomato varieties if you want tomatoes in the heat of summer. They don’t seem to be as bothered by high temperatures as slicing tomatoes.

Squirrel repellant suggestion: Rowe Rogero shared the following tip for deterring squirrels from potted plants: “The squirrels used to dig up the dirt in my freshly potted plants. I tried the greasy spray but the necessity for repeat treatments proved too labor intensive for me. I tried leaf and pine mulch, without much success. Then I started experimenting with impermeable objects on the soil and that has been successful.

“Any new potted plant gets rocks, large shells, or broken clay pot shards laid across the dirt. Works like a charm. I collect the rocks and shells on trips or just borrow the river rocks from some ground cover areas in my yard. I got inspired to use potshards after I accidentally broke a clay pot. That works well because you can break it into whatever size you need. Now I rarely lose a new plant to the squirrels and the rocks, and shells actually add appeal to the look of some plants.”

Internet radio show: Ms. Grow-It-All’s Internet radio show airs at 5 p.m. today on Blog Talk Radio. This week’s topic is how gardeners can co-exist with deer. If you have suggestions, email them to comments@msgrowitall.com or join us live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ms_grow-it-all. Or, you can download a podcast of the program, or any of my previous programs. Go to BlogTalkRadio.com or my website.

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