Well, we’ve put the tomatoes in!
|Part of the tomato plot at the Derwood demo garden, with underplanted lettuce|
Our chilly and rainy almost-spring period finally ended, and was followed immediately by summer: blazing hot and dry. This made for a tricky transplant period for some summer crops. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to put in my tomatoes and peppers while it was still kind of cold, and though they got watered well by rain I couldn’t get back to water them again for several days into the hot spell. Add this to the fact that they never really got hardened off properly – kept in a screened porch and hardly exposed to sun, even for the brief times we actually saw sun in May – and some of the transplants, especially the peppers, have shown stress and a bit of sunburn. (Which is true of a lot of us gardeners as well.)
|Pepper looking sad with the quick transition to sunshine|
|Tomato with similar symptoms at the demo garden|
From talking to other gardeners I’m finding this is a pretty common problem this spring. Plants that are treated well and given plenty of water should outgrow the issue – we’ve got very good growing weather for summer crops right now. (I am writing this during a thunderstorm – plenty of water!) Another possible cause for this appearance on plants is fertilizer burn, but I held off on fertilizing my peppers anticipating the hot dry weather, so that’s definitely not the issue there. Now that it’s a bit less Sahara-like outside, it’s a good time to fertilize plants.
You may also see some uncharacteristic purple coloration on older leaves on some of the plants that were transplanted while it was cold:
This is usually due to phosphorus deficiency. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to add phosphorus to your soil, because plants have a harder time taking up that nutrient in cool soil. If the newer leaves don’t show the odd coloration, all is probably well, though of course you should get your soil tested every few years just to be sure. (Some plants are naturally purple, too, even some peppers, so make sure you know the variety.)
Speaking of purple and green and for no other reason, here is a photo of Spring Blush Tendril peas from the demo garden:
Gorgeous flower color (really more pink than purple) and great tendrils that are harvested for cooking in stir-fries and so forth. They will have pods soon – glad they made it through the hot spell without fading, since they were slow to get going in the early spring.