Monthly Archives: July 2009

Tomato Day Wrap Up

Tomato Day is over! We had a good crowd, and lots of great tomato entries. My personal favorite was the plate of 3 Cherokee Purple tomatoes. They didn’t win anything, but then, I wasn’t the judge either!

The Demo Garden was looking great for Tomato Day, but now that it’s over, we’ll be getting things in place for the fall garden! Check back over the next couple weeks to see what we’ll be up to throughout the fall.

A quick Family of 4 Garden update – After all the festivities were over on Saturday I harvested the tomatoes from the garden. We had 3 ‘Fabulous’ and 6 or 7 ‘First Light’ ready to pick. They weighed a total of 3 lbs 12 oz. They were kind enough to show off for Tomato Day!

Friday PhotoEssay

Since tomorrow is Tomato Day, I hope you didn’t expect anything other than tomato pictures for the Friday PhotoEssay! And don’t forget – if you’ve got some great tomatoes, pictures of tomatoes, or salsa, enter them in one of our Tomato Day Contests!

Cluster of CherriesThere are getting to be cherry tomatoes everywhere you look out in the garden!

Green Sausage on the VineThe Green Sausage Romas are starting to produce more fruit.

Golden Rave going crazy

The Golden Rave Romas are producing like crazy. The squirrels like them too!

Cluster of FabulousLook at this cluster of ‘Fabulous’ tomatoes!

Snake & TomatoesUh oh! Our friendly snake is eying the ‘First Light’ tomatoes!

Have a great weekend! Come join us at Tomato Day!

Family of 4 Garden Update

July 23 006Just a quick update to let you know what’s going on in our Family of 4 Garden this week. We harvested 2 tomatoes on Tuesday  totally 12 oz. (1 each of Fabulous and First Light) We also picked another pound of peppers and pulled a bunch of carrots.

This morning I went out for a stroll around the garden and discovered that there are 4 First Light tomatoes ready to pick, and 1 Fabulous! (+1 First Light thathas been munched on by a squirrel or rabbit.) The tomatoes are coming on just right for display at Tomato Day this weekend. We won’t pick those tomatoes until after the event is over.

Anyway, the harvest to date brings us up to $118.84 for the year.

Something to Watch For…

If you are in the KWCH 12 viewing area, check out the Does It Work? segment on the 10 pm news to see something that we’ve been doing in the Demo Garden this summer. I haven’t been able to share it with you up to now because of the pending TV slot. I’ll try to post a link to the video of it tomorrow if I can find it.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the story and the video clip: DIW Topsy Turvy

If your Topsy Turvy Tomato is better than mine, enter it in our Tomato Day contest! Bring it to the Extension office between 12 and 4 p.m. tomorrow, July 24th.

The First Time Gardener: My ________ isn’t producing! What’s Wrong?!?

July 20 006Every year, at some point during the summer, the Master Gardener Hotline is inundated with calls from frantic vegetable gardeners concerned about one or more of the plants in their garden not producing.

Usually this starts out with cucumbers and occasionally squash. The complaint is that there are lots of flowers, but no cucumbers/squash are growing. What most gardeners don’t realize (until they’ve experienced it a couple times), is that squash, cucumbers, and melons all have both male and female flowers on each plant. The first flush of flowers is almost always male, and so no fruit will set until the plant begins producing female flowers. The ratio of male to female flowers will balance out as the season progresses. Sometimes drought or heat stress will cause the ratio to switch back to predominately male flowers.

A bit later on in the summer we start getting calls about tomatoes and peppers not setting or producing enough. Here the situation can be a bit more tricky to diagnose. Often, tomatoes and peppers will not flower or set fruit if they have too much nitrogen. The excess fertilizer is like pampering them, and the plants see no reason to reproduce. (There might be an interesting parallel in human behavior, but this is a garden blog, so I’ll leave that to the sociologists and philosophers to figure out.) Anyway, often new gardeners think that more fertilizer will help push the plants to produce more, making the problem worse.

Another common problem for home gardeners is shade. A shady location (less than 6 hours of direct sunlight) will delay flowering of tomatoes and peppers.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, whenever we get that wonderful, typically hot Kansas summer weather, the plants stop setting fruit again! Tomatoes will generally drop their flowers without setting fruit when daytime temperatures are above 90-95 and nighttime temperatures stay about 75-80. The overnight temperatures are actually more critical than the daytime temperatures. The same thing can happen with peppers, but at slightly hotter temperatures. (85 degrees overnight) Cold temperatures also delay fruit set and flowering, but since when have we had those in the summer in Kansas?

So why am I lecturing you about this? Well, I thought you might be interested to know. However, this was also so I could tell you that the squash in the Family of 4 Garden are blooming, but we don’t have any baby squashes yet, since we’ve seen only male flowers (and 1 female flowers that didn’t get pollinated)! Maybe by next week we’ll have some cute, tiny squashes on our plants!