Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Solutions for mid-summer tomato problems

Mid-summer can often bring problems for tomato plants, including Blossom End Rot, Leaf Curl and Blossom Drop. Some of these problems can be attributed to the weather. Tomato plants do best when the daytime temperatures are between 65-degrees and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. When the daytime temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees, growth slows down and fruit set stops. 

Leaves will begin to curl in response to the stress of high temperatures. The plant does this to reduce the surface area and slow down loss of moisture. Your tomato plant can still be productive if you practice good watering habits and add mulch around the base of the plant. Best practices for watering tomatoes include regular deep, thorough soaking at the base of the plant. Avoid overhead watering. Adding two to three inches of Mountain Magic Soil Pep mulch around the base will stabilize the ground and reduce moisture loss. It’s also important to know that leaf curl can occur due to insect stress. 

Western flower thrips are common in this area and can cause leaf curl as well as fruit loss due to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. To know for certain, bring us a leaf sample. We’ll scope it and determine the cause of the leaf curl. If it’s thrips, we’ll recommend an application of Dusting Sulfur to bring them under control. For poor blossom set, use Ferti-Lome Tomato and Pepper set. 

Tomatoes need nutrients in order to produce the best fruit consistently. Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable contains the right balance of Nitrogen and Phosphate to support the best fruit production. 

To treat Blossom End Rot, be consistent with deep watering and apply a liquid calcium directly on the leaves and fruit, using Ferti-Lome's Yield Booster. When it comes to growing tomatoes, many factors can influence fruit quality and production. A trip to The Flower Bin Diagnostic Center will ensure you know what to do to get the best from your tomato plants.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Now’s the Time to Plant Flowering Perennials

Whether you’re planting to fill in a spot in the landscape or replace a storm-damaged plant, now’s a great time to plant perennials. 

There are dozens of blooming perennials available now including blanket flowers, daisies, bee balm, lilies, penstemon, sage and the list goes on. Most of these perennials will attract and support pollinators, such as this ‘Concord Grape’ Spiderwort. 

When planted right, these perennials will bloom through the season and into first frost. Two important factors are matching the plant to the right light conditions and taking time to improve the soil. 

Improve the planting site by adding organic material in the form of Sheep, Peat and Compost. Start by digging the planting hole as deep and twice as wide as the container your plant is in. Now mix the Sheep, Peat and Compost 50:50 with the existing soil. Adding this organic amendment will allow our typical clay soil to drain better and take up water and nutrients more effectively. Once the hole is dug and amended, fill it with water and let the water drain. 

Repeat this step, this time adding three and a half tablespoons of Ferti-Lome Root Stimulator to a gallon of water. Slip your new plant out of its container and loosen the root ball.  Place the plant in the center of the hole and backfill with the amended soil.  Plan to do your actual planting during the coolest part of the day or on an overcast day.  With good soil preparation and the right amount of water, your new summer plantings will establish quickly and bloom well into the fall.