Every morning husbie and I make a point of walking through the garden to check things out and see how they are coming along.
It is one of my favorite rituals of the day and it helps us to stay on top of things such as pests and disease, and to make a weak attempt at staying on top of weeding (ha).
A few weeks ago I began to notice this on some of our tomato plants:
This unfortunate sight is referred to as blossom drop. Have you seen it in your garden?
What is blossom drop?
Blossom drop is simply what it states: the blossoms of the tomato plant drop before they can produce fruit. This condition isn’t restricted just to tomatoes, it can also be found in cucumbers and squash.
What causes it?
Blossom drop can be caused by one or a combination of situations including:
- Unhealthy soil
- Excessive wind
- A series of temps over 90 degrees
- Night temps that do not fall within the tomato friendly range of 55-70 degrees
These factors inhibit proper pollination of the flowers, the plant decides they aren’t needed after all, and decides to drop them. Sometimes just the blossom itself, and sometimes tiny branches.
Since we recently purchased top quality garden soil just for our tomatoes, in our case I’m sure it was the wind and the temperatures over 90. June was a hot month for us.
How can blossom drop be prevented?
- Make sure your tomatoes receive the proper amount of water and nutrition. This can be tricky, because while nitrogen can help prevent blossom drop, too much of it can cause the growth of beautiful foliage, but few flowers.
- Control the wind.
- Control the heat.
I’m only partially joking about the latter two. While one cannot hold back 30mph winds or create cooler temps, you can cover your plants with a bit of shade cloth (be careful it doesn’t rub against your plants) and try overhead watering in the morning (the plants need to dry before nightfall in order to further prevent disease) to help lower the warm temperatures.
Other suggestions would be to:
- Try different varieties. While all of my tomato plants have lost a few blossoms to a certain extent, I’ve noticed that our heirloom cream sausage plants lose the most. I’m guessing this is a fussy variety and just won’t acclimate to our tough climate. We love them anyway and we’ll just take what we can get while they last.
- Plant more tomatoes. This will perhaps help compensate for the loss.
What sort of issues are you facing with your tomatoes this year?
Find this post and others like it linked to: Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesday Greens, Tuesdays with a Twist, The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays