Dealing with our Tomatoes in the Heat



Phoenix gets hot in the summer.  Have I mentioned that?  Not sure if I have.

And while tomatoes are a generally a summer crop in most of the country, Phoenix is a little different.  We have two growing seasons for tomatoes here in the desert:  February-May (generally with some type of protection if planted out in February) and September-Mid-November-ish.



However, if you try and plant small plants or seedlings in September, there is no way you are getting any tomatoes before the cold sets in.  For that reason, if you want fall tomatoes, you’re going to have to get your spring tomato plants to live through the summer.  That is what I’m attempting right now.

The flowers of tomato plants will not set fruit above 90 degrees, which means from June until September you will not get any tomatoes from your plants.  However, if you keep watering them and taking care of them, you will start getting more tomatoes when the weather begins to cool in September.  (At least that is the theory I’m working with.)



My tomato plants did really well this year.  You might remember this picture from a few months back:



Additionally, I have about 15 gallon size bags of tomatoes in my freezer right now, which I desperately need to turn into sauce.

However, after the heat began to set in early this month, the plants started looking rough.  I trimmed them way (WAY) back and threw out all that I cut off.  (Did you know you shouldn’t compost your tomato plants?  Well, you shouldn’t.  They are notorious for spreading disease that can wipe out entire crops.)



Here’s what I cut off. 

Then I fixed up a swath of burlap to shade the plants from the harsh afternoon sun in an attempt to protect them from getting burned.

And aside from these steps, I’m planning to just continue watering them.  Hopefully as we approach September, I’ll begin to see new growth and some flowers form.  I’ll keep you updated on how we do.



Oh…. and don’t worry, I left enough to make some shade that will keep these ladies cool.

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