Field of Science

Tomato wilt watch

The wilt watch is not going well.  TPP started with 6 tomato plants, caged, in a row, and now three have been removed, and two of the remaining plants are wilting.  So after a good start, the tomato part of the garden is almost back to square one.  A few leftover plants at a local nursery have been potted using a potting mix, but you don't replace 5 foot tall plants with nearly full-sized fruits in just a week or two.  So you just try to salvage something.  Now the watch turns to peppers growing about 4 feet away from the tomatoes.  This is the problem of small gardens, especially when you routinely cheat on plant spacing.  A nice heavy rainfall could saturate the soil and facilitate movement of the wilt to the peppers.  If the wilt gets there, then the dominos will continue to fall, sadly.  Next year will require some major shifting of our gardening efforts to avoid growing nightshades in this general area.  This type of event is one of the major challenges of small gardens, and especially so since the last two years have not been good gardening years and while late, this year's garden was growing pretty well.  To add to the gardening woes, the 1st Japanese beetles have been spotted, a relatively new pest in these parts.  However their appearance is late, so maybe they didn't do so well and this years hatch will be small; so far cicadas are nearly a no show as well, not that they are a garden problem, but another insect that pupates under ground where the drought conditions of last summer and fall may have been difficult.


Jessica M. Budke said...

Sorry to hear about your tomatoes. We are fighting wilting from a lack of water during dry, hot California summers. It is my first time gardening out here. Overall the tomatoes are pretty happy in this weather and the jalapenos are starting to make fruits. The lemon tree is doing well, but I think that our lime tree is getting too much sun/too much heat. The cucumbers are fruiting, but the zucchini only have flowers and they seem to be falling off before making fruits. I need to trouble shoot what is going on with them. Maybe we need more flowers in the yard to attract pollinators?

The Phytophactor said...

It's pretty easy to hand pollinate enough zucchini to keep yourself happy, but if you only have male flowers then it suggests the plants are not growing well enough/not big enough to produce female flower.

Jessica M. Budke said...

I have been checking the flowers daily and unfortunately they are only producing male flowers thus far. Probably no garden-grown zucchinis for us this year. I guess we will have to try them in a different spot next time. Thanks for the advice!