Nothing to Harvest - Knowledgebase Question

Bloomington, IL
Avatar for tlthomps
Question by tlthomps
February 10, 1998
The foliage on my garden plants is beautiful -- almost no disease, and insects under control. But I have almost no vegetables on any of the plants (tomatoes, zucchini!!, peppers, beans). What could be the problem? I didn't apply lots of fertilizer, so I don't think excess nitrogen is the problem. My neighbors are having similar problems. Could the wet spring have affected the plants?

Answer from NGA
February 10, 1998
The weather is likely the culprit. Bees and other pollinators don't do their important work in inclement weather, so it's likely that the early flowers never got pollinated. Also, tomatoes and peppers are sensitive to both cold and very warm temperatures, which cause their flowers to drop. Next year, you might try using row covers to help protect tender plants from late spring chills. (Just be sure to remove the covers when it gets warm -- and when you see your zucchini flowers open, so the pollinators can get to them.)

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