What do I need to know about Growing Tomato Plants in Hot Weather?
We are experiencing extreme high temperatures here in Colorado. It can cause havoc with the tomato plants, it is a matter of providing what they need to survive and thrive. If you live in an area that is always hot, you can prepare for it ahead of time by choosing your tomato plants wisely.
But you can start growing tomato plants successfully in hot, dry areas by using a few special techniques … and by choosing appropriate varieties.
When Growing Tomato Plants look for tomato varieties with these qualities:
Short- to mid-season maturity. Tomatoes that flower early (even when nighttime temperatures are cool) and reach the picking stage sooner than later can be harvested before the desert climate’s hottest season.
Disease resistance. Early blight spreads easily in hot climates.
Thick stems. Strong tomatoes can withstand wind and exposure that’s so common in hot, dry climates.
You can purchase tomatoes that typically grow well in hot, dry climates. Here are some of them that can flourish in hot weather. There are more, you can research what is good for your climate.
- Brandywine OTV Tomato
- Burbank Slicing Tomato
- Eva Purple Ball TomatoMarvel Striped Tomato
- Yellow Pear Tomato
- Roma VF tomato
But every once in a while, you could start having extreme temperatures or an abrupt change to hot weather. This can have a very negative impact on your tomato plants.
What you need to do to save and protect your tomato plants :
- Monitor your tomato plants closely.
- Provide shade if the vine does not provide enough for the fruit on its own. Make some artificial shade in the most intense part of the day for your tomato plants. Get creative, how do you create shade for your self?
- Flower drop usually shows up as the first problem, especially with a sudden sharp increase in temperature. Usually this will become worse as the temps go above 90 to 95 dregrees.
- Keep your soil at a constant moisture. Extreme changes in moisture will crack you tomatoes as they ripe.
- Avoid over fertilizing your tomato plants, especially with the threat of hot weather, as over fertilized plants are higher risk or losing flowers. Remember each flow is a possible tomato.
- Use mulch to keep the soil cooler
- If you can, allow your tomatoes to ripen on the vine. You will have great flavor, but they can ripen off the vine. Some people let them ripen on a window sill, but I prefer in a brown paper bag. It is less damaging to the fruit.
Chuck Marr, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension, shared the following information in an article dated 15 July 2004. You can find it at this website: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu.
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Every tomato lover knows fresh, “vine-ripe” flavor is by far the best.
At the same time, many don’t know what “vine ripe” means. So, whether growing or buying tomatoes, they may be limiting their access to the top flavor of the season.
“Tomatoes develop their optimum nutrition, color and flavor when they’re in the full red-ripe stage. But getting to that point doesn’t have to occur on the plant,” explained Chuck Marr, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.
Tomatoes go through specific steps, Marr said, in developing “vine ripeness”:
* A gas called ethylene regulates the ripening process. Tomatoes start producing this gas internally when they reach full size and become pale green.
* When tomatoes turn about one-half green and one-half pink (called the breaker stage), a layer of cells forms across their stem, sealing them off from the main vine. At this stage, tomatoes can ripen on or off the vine with no loss of quality or flavor.
* Tomatoes don’t ripen at refrigerator temperatures. If harvested in the breaker stage, however, keeping them in a cool place (to a minimum 50 F) will slow down their ripening process.
How do you manage the ripening process? Temperature . Keep them about 80 degrees, I prefer a brown paper bag, until they are ripe, then you can place them in the refridgerator. That allows them to stay fresh longer to provide great tomatoes for a longer period of time
Again, the answer is being prepared and taking care of the food you are growing to eat, sell and share.
Also if your still having with your tomato plants, you can
to get our book on “How to Grow Delicious Heirloom Tomatoes”,
and that will help you get started.
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