vegetables not producing - Knowledgebase Question

kemp, Te
Question by fredacotten
July 20, 2009
my squash and tomatoes are not producing,the tomatoes are small,and the squash shrivels up water and fertilize with miracle grow. HELP


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Answer from NGA
July 20, 2009

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It sounds like you're doing everything right! The problem with the tomatoes is the heat, including the nighttime temps. When the days begin to cool off in fall, they will start setting again. Here in Texas we have two short tomato seasons, not one long one. Cherry tomato varieties, like 'Sweet 100' tend to set better in the heat. You might include a few of those in your planting next spring. Also, get out your tomatoes as early as you can, and select varieties that don't take too long to begin bearing. The "days to harvest" number listed in the seed catalog is a good guide for choosing an early variety. Two to try which have worked well for me are 'Early Girl' and 'First Lady'. Shriveling squash can indicate poor pollination or a condition called blossom end rot. If the squash are dropping when only a few inches long, it's poor pollination. If they are rotting at the bottom (blossom) end, it's blossom end rot, which is a a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of the fruit. While your soil may have adequate calcium, fluctuations in soil moisture content from dry to wet really increase the incidence of blossom end rot. It is especially bad on the early fruit each summer and in sandy soils. The damage occurs as cells die at the tip of the fruit. In time (and as the fruit grows) the spots enlarge and turn black. So, by the time you see it, the damage actually has already occurred some time back. Remedies include: having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits (mulch helps maintain soil moisture), and spraying plants with a Blossom End Rot spray (contains calcium) which can usually be purchased from your local garden center. Good luck with your squash and tomatoes!

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