It’s the center of August already.
You wouldn’t understand it for those who had been utilizing ripe tomatoes or zucchini as a marker, although. Each of those crops are late this 12 months.
You may blame it on our cool, moist spring and early summer season. Temperatures barely received into the 70s in June which slowed the preliminary development of most heat season crops. My tomato crops are often over 2 ft tall once I pull off the row cowl on the finish of June. This 12 months, they had been solely a scrawny 18 inches tall. The zucchini squash simply sat there till the center of July all due to the cool climate.
The problem is that below regular situations we now have a brief window of heat days and nights between mid-July and mid-August that the crops have to be flowering throughout that point or we aren’t going to get something. If we do, it’ll be very late. Late sufficient that we could be bumping up in opposition to an early sneaker frost.
With the nice and cozy and virtually too scorching climate we’ve had over the previous a number of weeks, the crops have taken off and are lastly producing flowers. I say too scorching as a result of temperature over 90 levels aren’t conducive for pollination. The bees are residence maintaining their hives cool and the pollen dries out an excessive amount of to stay to the feminine a part of the flower. The answer to the problem is for you, the gardener, to do some good, old style matchmaking and assist with the pollination.
Let’s begin with the zucchini squash. These crops have female and male flowers on the identical plant. The feminine flowers are nearer to the middle of the plant and have a bulge on the base of the flower whereas the male flowers are taller and don’t have any bulge. The male flowers come out just a few weeks earlier than the feminine flowers.
As soon as each flowers are open, the bees transfer pollen from the male to the feminine flower. If there isn’t a pollination, the feminine flowers may put out a brief, small fruit that withers. To assist with pollination, take a cotton swab tip or a small artist’s brush and rub pollen from the male flower onto the middle of the feminine flower. Chances are you’ll want to do that a number of occasions over a few weeks.
Tomato flowers, alternatively, produce their very own pollen that’s moved round by bees and different pollinators to type new fruits. A tomato plant often units fruit from the underside of the plant upward. If the pollinators are busy with different actions within the scorching climate, you possibly can assist them alongside. Get an outdated electrical toothbrush and set it subsequent to a flower and switch it on. The vibrating brush head will trigger pollen to fly far sufficient to hit different flowers.
To assist ripen fruit as soon as our nights cool into the 40s, cowl the crops with floating row cowl to carry in warmth and defend from frost.