Drought Stressed Vegetables and Fruit

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The extreme heat and dry weather have been terrible for my garden. The tomatoes stopped producing fruit, even though they were flowering. This is mostly due to nighttime temperatures not dropping below 70 degrees. I did grow a few heat-tolerant varieties this year and they have continued to produce a few fruit through the high temperatures, but not as many as they were producing early on in the spring. I’m thinking, a few is better than none at all.

The higher temperatures also meant that my squash and some of the other vegetables have wilted more frequently. Sometimes wilting is just because the plants are too hot and sometimes it’s due to a lack of water. One way to know for sure if the plants are wilting because they need water is to stick a finger in the ground about an inch or two. If the finger comes out dry, then water is needed. When the plant wilts because of heat, it will often perk back up as the sun begins to set and the temperature drops a little. Watering too frequently can cause problems with plants having shallow root systems.

The lack of rain has caused me to water more frequently than I have in the past. This year may have been a bad year to try growing tomatoes in containers for the first time. I’m getting tomatoes off the plants, but I’m also watering those plants every day and sometimes twice during the day to keep them from having cracks on them. These cracks usually happen when the soil dries out and then the plant gets a lot of water. The plant stores too much water in the fruit and the skin can’t expand fast enough so it cracks. The same thing can happen to squash and melons if they get really dry and then get lots of water.