If you live in the Inland Northwest and you’ve seen a recent forecast then you know we are in for some really hot temperatures. That means we have to be extra vigilant in our watering practices.
For container gardens, I water once a day, usually in the early morning. For small pots, sometimes I need to water twice a day. That is why I encourage everyone to use the biggest pots you can find, smaller pots mean less soil volume and more drying out. Add some hot wind, it is even worse.
In the garden, we have a drip system setup (soaker hoses) and right now, we are leaving it on 24/7 when possible. No danger of overwatering since it “drips”. That being said, I see my plants like squash, with large thin leaves, wilting. sad looking but it happens every year now. They are well watered but the sun is very intense. I used to think I was doing something wrong. hey perk back up when the sun heads towards the horizon. I don’t remember this happening when I was kid but you get older and your mind goes!
Another thing you should be prepared for is the flowers drying up and falling off. They aren”t being pollinated. Optimum temps for fruit set is 65-80° F. As you get hotter, less fruit can be expected. Some tomatoes are more prone to this, that is one of the reasons it is harder to grow tomatoes in the summer in places like Florida and Arizona.
Another tidbit: temps under 55 degrees when the fruit is forming can cause misshapen fruit or catfacing, especially on heirloom varieties.
There are some heat-tolerant varieties such as Heatmaster, Solar Fire, Summer Set, and Phoenix which can form fruit even as temperatures climb. Click on the link for a good article by Bonnie Plants on growing tomatoes in heat.
I hope everyone is having a great and prolific summer despite our crazy weather! we have been picking squash, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Our larger tomatoes are starting to color up and we’ve picked 3 mid-size Yukon Quests already. My husband also made his first BLT!