More Tomato Woes Factors
Summer is a time when local farms sometimes share their extra produce, assuming conditions have been good for growing. This year, record hot and humid conditions have made tomato growing challenging.
In addition, two other factors have contributed to the challenge of growing tomatoes.
Tomato plants taller than their growers usually means tomato plants may be getting too much nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen encourages the green growth that spurs plants to unnatural heights.A balanced plant meal requires nitrogen for growth, phosphorous for moving energy through the plant, and potassium for stress tolerance. Our Ozark soil can provide nitrogen but the other two fertilizer elements usually need a boost.
Soil testing through a local University of Missouri Extension office will help determine what is missing. A test costs $14 and includes not only what is in your soil but what you need to do to amend it.
The other delicate part of raising tomatoes is watering. Tomato roots in open ground can grow to 5 feet deep. Tomatoes even grown in containers prefer to be evenly moist so with temperatures, and humidity, either at record levels or varying widely requires careful monitoring.
I have sunken plastic bottles with holes in pots keeping my tomatoes company so that I can better keep the roots moist. I also use a paint stick propped into the side and moved over an inch to check how wet the soil is before I water.