NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

August 21, 2013

Tim's Tips: Check your container plants

Well, it looks like we are back in the heat again.

Having hot weather at this time of the growing season can present problems for any plants that you are growing in containers. At this time of the year, the plants are pretty much full-grown.

As an example, think about the tomato plants that you have in pots. The plants could be 6 feet tall. The root system fills the pot, and the plant quickly uses up any water you put in. In some cases, the soil is so full of roots that a lot of the water just flows through the soil and out the bottom of the pot.

It is critical that you keep up with watering your plants during any periods of hot weather. The plants in containers will need to be watered, in most cases, on a daily basis. In the case of the tomato plants, you may have to water several times per day.

It’s not just your vegetable plants that will need water during a late-season hot spell. Window boxes, raised beds and flowerpots will all tend to dry out quickly. If you want to have your plants survive a hot spell late in the season, you need to keep up with watering the plants.

Lately, a question that is frequently asked at the store concerns the flowers on tomato plants. At this time of the year, tomato plants are still setting new flower buds. Most varieties of tomatoes will need 70 days or more for those flowers to turn into ripe tomatoes. If you check the calendar, you will see that many of those tomatoes will never ripen before the frost kills the tomato plant. If you remove those late-in-the-season flower buds, your tomato plants can put all their effort into ripening those tomatoes that already exist on your tomato plants.

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