Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Heat and Veggie Production

It looks like the heat is starting to take a heavy toll on my container garden's vegetable production. We've now had many consecutive days in the 105 degree range, and 100 plus degree days will likely be the norm until September. It's getting pretty uncomfortable out there for human and plant alike.

My tomato plants are really showing the heat's impact. I haven't noticed any new tomato production in about a week now. The growth rate of tomatoes already set on the vine seems to have slowed tremendously, with ripening occurring at a much smaller size. The plants themselves are still growing, but the fruit may be finished until cooler weather arrives. My dilemma is whether to try and keep the vines alive until Fall, or pull them and then set out some early producing varieties sometime in late August for an October and November crop.

While I'll try and grow a Fall tomato crop, I've decided against any further attempts at growing beans in this location. Back in late February, I planted several lima bean, green bean, and black-eyed pea plants. All the limas and black-eyed peas died before producing anything. The green bean vines, by contrast, grew like mad until the temperature consistently topped 90. After that they stopped producing any beans, and showed signs of severe stress. I think location played a role in this, as the trellis to which I trained the vines was very close (about an inch away) to a Sun-heated wall. Although I didn't realize this at planting time, this wall gets surprisingly hot during the mid afternoon. This added heat source greatly exacerbates the problem of plant overheating. As a result, the six surviving vines have produced a whopping total of nine bean pods.

Beyond the recent slow down in tomato production and the problems with beans, everything else seems to be handling the heat well. I'll keep you updated on both the tomatoes and these other plants in the coming days.

2 comments:

Annie said...

John, I too have noticed the heat taking a toll on my tomato plants. So far I have had blooms, but they dry out and don't produce any tomatoes. This is sad. I hate waisting the water, but I am holding out hope that I will get some tomatoes after the heat goes away (lets hope for late Aug) My bean plant also showed signs of stress. I let it die, as I was tired of waisting the water on it. My squash is just barely hanging on!!!
Peppers seem to be doing ok though. Oh this desert climate is really hard to garden in. So I heard (I have not confirmed it) that there will be a small seminar on container gardening (veggies) at the Springs Preserve this Thursday night. I am going to try to go. Maybe we will see you there:)

HSkaggs said...

we had a little different problem in Alabama about 2 months ago, massive aphid infestation on tomatoes. It took a few days but I saved most of mine. I used one part mild hand soap and the rest part warm water..seemed to work. I have celebrity hybrids and Roma, 2 plants of each. I am having to do less this year because I am conditioning soil in other beds where tomatoes were.. started getting blight.

My hybrids have stated to ripe and I have picked a few but the roma tomatoes are still to small to pick :)

Cousin Heather