Summer heat can lead previously productive tomato plants to stop producing. Tomato blooms typically do not pollinate and fall when temperatures approach 20 ° C to 31 ° C and nights surpass 24 ° C ° F, halting the formation of new fruit. The hotter it gets, the more those tomato blooms will push the pause button. In other words, hot weather can cause the tomato harvest to be delayed. Here are some tips for growing tomatoes in hot or hotter climes.
Choose The Right Variety
Heat-tolerant tomato types such as Heat master, Solar Fire, Summer Set, and Phoenix may produce fruit even in hot weather. These tomatoes are frequently labelled as “heat resistant” or include terms or locations associated to heat in their names. Another option is to follow the lead of professional tomato and other plant producers, whose fruit ripens in a short amount of time at the start of the growing season, before the strong heat sets in.
Plant in The Right Place
Tomato labels call for full sun, which works well in hot climates. In the summer, pick a location where the tomatoes will get morning sun, then filtered sun, or light shade. The remainder of the day Create your own shade in situations where there isn’t any (see below). Also, make sure to plant in nutrient-rich soil.
Make Some Shade
Shade cloth is commonly used by horticulturists to keep tomatoes cool at vital times when tomato flower pollination occurs (usually between 10 am and 2 pm). Researchers discovered that the best yields come from a shade structure that is open to the east (no fabric on that side), allowing plants to bask in the morning sun while being sheltered from the sun’s harsh rays. in the late afternoon To make one, build a simple frame around the tomatoes with wood or rings to cover the rows, then drape a shade cloth over it (found at garden centers or online). Look for a “50 percent” shade fabric, which blocks out 50% of the sun and 25% of the heat. In any case, try summer weight row covers, which typically provide approximately 15% shade. Of course, tomatoes do not need to be shaded in areas where sunlight and heat are not as extreme.
To keep the soil moist, cover the tomato plants with a 2 to 3-inch thick layer of mulch. Replace mulch as it decomposes in areas with extensive growth seasons (think late summer). Straw, cotton husks, shredded bark, cut leaves, untreated grass clippings, and other locally accessible organic materials are excellent choices since they enrich the soil as they decompose.
Pour into The Water
A tomato plant with lush foliage and a bounty of fruit shifts to survival mode when temps dip below 32 ° C and need enough of water to stay healthy. Each morning, stick your finger an inch or two into the soil to check for moisture; if there isn’t any, it’s time to water. The fruit will not crack if the soil is kept moist, and flower drop will be reduced. (Too-dry tomatoes produce blooms earlier than well-watered tomatoes.) You may need to water your plants daily or twice a day in locations with fast-draining, sandy soil, such as sections of the Southwest, South Florida, and the South Coast. amid the summer’s hottest days Drip irrigation is undoubtedly the greatest and most cost-effective irrigation method no matter where you reside.
Pick The Fruit Early
Tomatoes stop releasing red pigments when temperatures continuously exceed 34 degrees Celsius, which means that red fruits can ripen to orange. When high temperatures persist, with days above 37 ° C and nights exceeding 27 ° C, most tomato ripening is entirely halted. On the outside, the fruit that stays on the vines may be colorful, but on the inside, it may still be green. Pick any fruit that already has undertones of ripe color and let it finish ripening indoors if a period of extreme heat is expected.
Be on The Lookout for Pests and Diseases
Keep an eye out for tomato pests in hotter sections of the country where high temperatures last for long periods of time. Heat-stressed plants can’t defend themselves as well as they do in cooler temps, so address any issues as soon as possible. Because high temperatures can hasten the spread of some tomato diseases, it’s a good idea to remove any diseased or dead leaves as soon as possible.
If you follow these measures, your tomatoes will remain healthy and ready to develop and produce until the heat has passed.