A high temperature is a factor that contributes to the failure of your tomato crop. It is true that tomatoes generally prefer warm climate to thrive, yet, excessive heat stresses your plant and decreases its production. Therefore, in order to avoid such problems, If you live in a hot area, you should learn how to grow tomatoes in hot weather.
When temperature degrees surpass 85F in daytime and 75F in the nighttime, there is a huge risk that your tomatoes will not be able to set fruit. In short, your tomatoes will be damaged, and your crop will be delayed. For that reason, you should follow the below guide to learn how to grow tomatoes in hot weather properly so you could enjoy a fruitful crop.
1. choose a convenient variety
There are some tomato varieties that are more heat tolerant than others. Among these varieties, we can find Heatmaster, Solar Fire, Summer Set, Florida 91, and Phoenix. These varieties were proven to thrive and set fruits in the warmest conditions.
You should also choose a small or a medium sized tomato variety. These two varieties ripen earlier than larger varieties which makes them ideal to grow in hot climates. In general, orange varieties are more heat resistant than all the other varieties.
2. Choose an ideal site to plant
For extremely hot weathers, you cannot plant tomatoes anywhere. The location where you should plant your tomatoes should be carefully and precisely picked. The best locations are the shady locations. This way, you will protect your plant from burning afternoon sun.
Otherwise, plant your tomatoes ordinarily like any other tomatoes. Dig a 1/4-inch hole, plant your tomato in it and cover it with potting soil. Don’t forget that a good quality potting soil is always vital for growing any variety of tomato. If you have a poor quality soil, consider adding some fertilizers and composts to improve it.
3. Make some shade
In case that you don’t have a shady location in your garden, you could create one. During hot afternoons, use a wood frame covered with shade cloth to filter sunlight. However, in mornings, let them get a full sunlight. It is also preferable that you use 50% shade cloth because tomatoes need at least 12 hours of sunlight.
Experienced gardeners advise you to use a shade structure that’ open to the east. This way, your plants will enjoy full sunlight in mornings and will be protected from the hot afternoon rays. Apply shading tomatoes only if you live in an extremely hot area where the temperature may reach 90F.
Mulching is a crucial factor for tomatoes to set fruits and produce heavily especially when they are grown in hot weathers. Adding a 3-inch layer of organic materials would be ideal for your plants. The best organic materials to use are cotton hulls, chopped leaves, shredded bark, straw, and grass clippings.
Mulching maintains the soil moist and damp. This is crucial especially when you are growing a delicate vegetable in unfavorable conditions. You may also have to replace the mulch when it breaks down.
Tomatoes, even in favorable conditions, need regular often watering. If the weather is too hot, you may need to water your plants twice daily. It is better to do it once in the morning and once in the evening. Keeping your soil moist and damp prevent fruit cracking.
In order to avoid overwatering, that may lead to rotten your plants’ roots, stick your finger one inch into the soil to feel how dry it is. If it needs watering, water it, otherwise don’t no matter how hot it is.
If you are growing your tomatoes in pots, you may want to check these vital steps for growing tomatoes in containers. You may also find these self-watering containers helpful for growing tomatoes in hot weather. They will provide your tomatoes with the watering they need without over watering them.
Growing tomatoes in hot weather means early harvesting. Don’t wait till your tomatoes become red to harvest them. You should harvest them when they turn to orange. If the temperature degree reaches 95F tomatoes stop becoming red.
When the temperature rises to 100F, tomatoes will stop ripening. It is better to harvest them than let them fall off the plant. You could pick them and store them to ripen indoors.
7. Watch out for pests and diseases
In hot areas, diseases and pests spread more rapidly than they do in cool weather areas. Hence, you should check on your plants consistently. If you spot any pests or diseases, it is highly recommended that you deal with them immediately.
These are the best steps to follow for growing tomatoes in hot weather. Even if you don’t manage to get a heavy production, at least you will guarantee that your crop will not fail.
However, for extremely hot areas such as Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, Southern California, and the Desert Southwest, it is better to grow tomatoes in self-watering containers or indoors on a windowsill.
Either way, enjoy your gardening and we remain at your disposal for any questions and inquiries.