This spring has been a double-whammy for tomato growers.
Tomatoes planted too early in May when the ground was still too cold have failed to thrive.
“They aren’t growing,” said Scott Evans, horticulture program coordinator for Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. “They are just treading water.”
Now the heat has become an issue, too.
Temperatures above 90 will prevent fruit production on most cultivars because the pollen becomes sterile in the heat. Some varieties, such as the cherry tomato, will be OK because they can tolerate a wider range of temperatures.
Evans said it wouldn’t be surprising to see tomato blossoms fall off because of the heat.
“It’s been a rough start to the season for tomato plants,” Evans said.
Evans said herbicides can drift up to a mile away from where they are applied. If the plants don’t grow out of it, it’s likely a virus instead and plants will need to be removed.
Tomatoes and other vegetables also will naturally curl their leaves to help conserve moisture during the heat of the day.
Cooler weather expected to arrive Monday will be just what your tomatoes, peppers and vine crops need to get back on track.
“Once the weather cools off, they should start producing fruit or new flowers,” Evans said. “We still have a long growing season ahead of us and plenty of time for fruit production. We just need to be patient."
Keeping the soil evenly moist will help reduce the chances of blossom end rot.