Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bad Gardening Weather (for Tomatoes) and What You Can Do About It

To all my vegetable gardening comrades:

I’m sitting here reviewing the first pages of The Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb, and I have just found this interesting tidbit from Rhonda Hart that could help revive our sorry-looking tomato plants.

“Tomatoes Tell All: In addition to the joys of eating them, tomato plants are useful for their diagnostic skills. They are sensitive to soil abnormalities and show distinct symptoms in response to soil deficiencies. For instance, the youngest leaves of tomatoes grown in iron-deficient soils turn yellow between the veins, with the base of the leaflets showing the most discoloration. In calcium-poor soils the youngest leaves turn purplish brown, and eventually the fruit rots at the blossom end. Purple veins indicate a phosphorus deficiency (often caused by cool growing conditions).

My tomato plants have been looking purplish since the frost we had on June 1. They are finally starting to green up (and grow), but I’m thinking some tasty bone meal might do them a world of good right now.

Yup, there’s always something new to learn here at Storey!

— Ilona Sherratt

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