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Notes from the garden as the season winds down

Andrew Norton

August is 2/3s gone and school starts in less than two weeks. Where has the summer gone? Normally at this stage of summer we are enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes. Not this year. Yeah, my favorite summer staple did not do so hot this year. There could be any of or a combination of three different reasons; the soil - too much composted cow manure, the heat - blossoms won't be pollinated when it is too hot, poor seedlings.

I redid the makeup of the soil in our raised beds this spring. I sifted out the larger rocks and added peat and composted cow manure to each bed. Perhaps I overdid it on the composted cow manure. If there is too much nitrogen in the soil tomato plants will not set fruit.

When nighttime temperatures hover around the 70s and daytime temps hit the 90s - tomato plants won't set fruit. The heat makes the pollen sterile. We had a ton of blossoms on our tomato plants when we had the one to two week stretch of daytime temps in or near 90 and nighttime temps in the 70s.

Our favorite greenhouse did not open this year due to the increased costs of propane which they use to heat the greenhouse. So we went with an untested supplier and I was not really happy with any of the plants we purchased in addition to the tomatoes. We were going to grow our own seedlings like the previous year, but time got away from us and we were too late. I won't make that mistake again.

We'll be purchasing our seeds from Park Seed once again. They have a great selection and I've been extremely pleased with the results in previous growing seasons.