It’s too hot for your garden

The recent weather has been exceptionally humid and quite hot. This has been very uncomfortable for humans but also takes a toll of the garden. This will be most notable in the vegetable garden as you notice a decrease in your harvest in the next few weeks. Before you panic, looking for problems, be aware that it may just be the effects of the recent hot weather. Blossom drop, failure to flower, slow or stopped growth, dropped leaves and curling leaves are all symptoms of heat stress.

Tomatoes are a good example of plants that are affected by heat. Daytime temperatures between 85 and 95 F and nighttime temperatures above 75 F will cause flowers to drop — no flowers, no tomatoes. Remember, tomatoes are wind pollinated. High humidity will moisten the pollen, making it too heavy to pollinate.

Many other plants will experience similar problems. Blossom drop is common

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Reap your rewards as summer crops ripen

The summer crops are starting to come in and I love it. Jack, our neighbor who graciously grows tomatoes in his fenced garden for me, reports there are flowers and fruit aplenty in the tomato patch. A few are almost ready to eat. The roadside farm markets are multiplying—the one here in nearby Coopersburg just opened for the season and I’ve seen a few signs for local produce when I make my almost weekly trip to the Quakertown Farmers Market aka Q-mart). So after all the work you put into your garden so far, be sure to harvest your rewards regularly. While you are out there, check carefully for hornworm caterpillars and hand pick them off the plants. That is, unless their backs are covered with small white eggs, resembling white grains of rice. Leave those caterpillars alone. They are already doomed as when the eggs hatch, the larvae of

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Tasks to perform to prepare your garden for spring

Spring is coming, hurrah! We’ve reached meteorological spring, the weather reporters tell us. Astronomical spring is only three weeks away — gardening begins in earnest at last.

There is plenty to do and inviting days of mild temperatures dare us to declare winter over. But, not so fast. While this year has been mild with scant winter weather, we shouldn’t be lured into letting the desire for spring outpace the reality of spring. We will have warmer temperatures and longer days, but remember that a single hard frost can wipe out plants set out too early. Snowstorms are not that uncommon in March and while I, too, hope for an early spring, I urge you to use common sense and caution in embracing the change too early. There’s plenty we can do now without risking frozen or stunted plants.

Protect your soil. Don’t walk on wet garden beds or dig

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How the warm winter effects your home gardens

With unseasonable temperatures yet again this week, I wondered what the effects would be if this continued until spring. We’ve got a while to go and we may still have some normal temperatures and precipitation. However, the weather projection through the end of the month is for warmer than usual conditions.

So, what can we expect? Realistically, there isn’t much we can do. We can watch for a few problems.

Insects: A warm winter usually means more insects and their eggs will survive, resulting in a buggy spring. This will be lessened if we have a string of very cold days. Mosquitoes may emerge earlier.

Ticks: Anytime temperatures approach 50°F, ticks become active. So, go through the tick prevention routine when you go out: Use repellents, sprays, lotions and treated clothing. Wear long pants and sleeves, pick light colors. The lighter colors make it easier to see ticks.

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