Garden Weather Woes
This has been a difficult year for a lot of our local gardeners. The wet early spring provided opportunities for early disease development. A period of high temperatures helped dry the garden but limited plant development. The return of high humidity, cloudy skies, frequent showers and warm temperatures increased the development of diseases, physiological and nutrient disorders on garden plants and fruits.
Blotchy ripening of tomatoes is associated with cool, cloudy weather and potassium deficiency. Fruit cracking develops during periods of rainy weather. Blossom end rot—occurring early in the fruit development—is caused by uneven soil moisture which reduces the availability of calcium to the plant. Uneven soil moisture occurs when periods of rain are followed by rapid drying of tilled soil during sunny, windy days. Temperatures in the nineties will stop pollination of beans and peppers as well as tomato development, causing a loss of vegetable production.
Practices to reduce the impact of unfavorable weather conditions include providing good spacing and weed control, allowing air movement through plants. Good air movement around and through the garden promotes rapid drying of the foliage surface, reducing disease development. Provide maximum light by choosing location for the garden in a spot that lacks shade. Shade and cloudy weather limits the ability for plants to photosynthesize food needed for growth and to protect itself from pests. Protect the plants early in the season with a fungicide to prevent the disease from developing and spreading as the plants grow. Apply mulch to reduce the potential for disease spores, which overwinter in the soil, being splashed on to the lower leaves. This also helps conserve soil moisture during dry, windy periods.
The weather does not always follow a set pattern, so creating an environment in your garden that can cope with most weather conditions and provide the best possible growing conditions should be part of your garden plan.