State of Vegetable Gardens 2024

State of Vegetable Gardens 2024

Vegetable gardens are… HOT and DRY… It’s been a tough start for the vegetable garden season this year. If your garden seems to be struggling, don’t take it personal, you probably have done nothing wrong. It’s just one of “those” years.

A few notes about what we are seeing and hearing:

Increased Blossom End Rot (BER)
Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes
Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes

Most commonly seen on Tomatoes and peppers. Gardens that have never seen a case of blossom end rot in 30+ years are having it… BER is caused by a calcium deficiency. In a “normal” year this is seen primarily in container gardens and often attributed to a lack of nutrients in the soil typically cause by frequent watering leaching the nutrients out and/or lack of nutrients to begin with. But this isn’t a normal year… this year we are seeing hot and dry weather causing BER. There’s a long scientific answer (click here for the scientific answer) but it’s not due to the lack of calcium in the soil. Essentially this year’s BER is due to the plant’s inability to take up enough calcium along with “using” it too fast. This helps explain why gardens that have never had BER are now having it. The remedy for BER is a calcium spray such as Yield Booster or an application of fast acting Cal-Pro Lime. Unfortunately, these may not be enough to combat the early summer heat issues.

Squash and Cucumber plants are struggling…

Many people are commenting that squash and cumber plants just aren’t growing and vining and the squash and cucumber are getting about the size of your pinky finger and falling off. Both have a high water content and don’t like hot/dry weather. In a normal year, they start struggling when we get to the “dog days” of summer in late July and early August. This year we’re starting summer off with mid 90’s knocking on 100.

But I’m watering faithfully?

Yes, but there’s no substitute for rainwater. Well water is next best. City or county water really isn’t all that great for flowers and vegetables… We typically do not recommend watering a vegetable garden planted in the ground however this year is the exception to the rule. Frequent watering often does more harm than good. Try watering less frequently but with a longer, deeper, soaking watering when you do water. A quick watering every day brings the roots up to the surface whereas a less frequent deeper watering sends the roots down in search of moisture which in turn leads to a stronger sturdier plant. Click here for our Watering 101 Guide!

Like most gardeners, we are perpetual optimist and will leave you with a positive note or two!

Peppers are loaded!

Pepper plants love hot dry weather and normally don’t truly thrive until late July into August. This year peppers plants are already loaded with peppers!

If we get a few good slow soaking rainy days you’ll be amazed at how quick your vegetable garden will rejuvenate and you will likely still get a good harvest! So, find a shady spot, say a prayer for rain, sit back, and snack on your peppers while you wait for rain!