Tomato Growing Tips for the Heat

Here are some tomato tips, from Rev. Chamie Delkeskamp, for the forecasted excessive heat wave this week in Southern California… We know many of you are growing Ascension tomatoes… we did sell over 800 plants, after all… so this is what she suggests to help them survive the heat:
  •  WATER DEEP at the crack of dawn… if they are watered well in the morning, you may still find them droopy in the afternoon heat of the day, but this very well may be the fact that they are not liking the heat, but don’t need you to water them again at that moment… if they perk up in the evening when it cools, you gave them what they needed in the morning… if they don’t perk up, you can water them deeper in the evening and shouldn’t need to water them again in the morning or through the next day. If your tomatoes are in the ground, and you water deep, you will most likely need to water them every other day. If your tomatoes are in a pot, they will need water every day.
  • DON’T FERTILIZE. It is not advisable to fertilize the tomatoes in the heat because that encourages growth and flowering and right now they just need to use their energy to survive the heat.
  • Don’t panic if you have “blossom drop” – sometimes in the heat, tomatoes will drop their blossoms. Once it cools off, they will grow new blossoms.
  • MULCH THICK… I mulch all around my tomato plants – and other vegetables as these tips work for other veggies as well – to help hold in the moisture. There are multiple options for mulch, but I use straw bales and tear them apart and spread them all around my plants and over the soaker hoses. I get my straw bales at Underwood Family Farms. For most people with in-ground plants, one straw bale should be plenty.
  • If your plants are in pots, move them into the shade.
  • After the heat wave, you can fertilize again and help them to grow.
Best of luck to your gardens in this heat and may you find cool places to retreat to!