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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – August

    Water lawns and garden beds early in the morning to allow foliage plenty of time to dry before nightfall.

    Container gardens will benefit from a light application of all-purpose fertilizer.

    If petunias have grown long and shaggy, cut them back and give them a dose of fertilizer. They should bloom again quickly.

    If squirrels and birds go after your ripe tomatoes, pick them while they are still green and allow them to turn red indoors. For best quality, don’t store fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator.

    Make sure spring-planted trees and shrubs get plenty of water during hot weather.

    Keep cutting the spent flowers of annuals so they will continue to bloom into the fall.

    To conserve soil moisture during hot weather, replenish mulch in annual and perennial beds as necessary.

    Begin planning a fall garden. Spinach, lettuces, radishes and other fall crops will mature when the weather turns cool.

    Begin clean-up of summer vegetable beds. Remove any decayed or dying foliage to prevent diseases from taking hold.

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What else can go wrong with tomatoes?

QUESTION: My tomato plants are tall and full, and they have been blooming a lot but the blooms disappear. The flower usually dries up and falls off. Otherwise, they look  healthy. Can you tell me what’s wrong with them? – D.S.

When the weather is hot, tomato blossoms fall.

Two things could be causing tomato flowers to fall off: extreme heat and dry soil. When temperatures get above 90 degrees for several days – and we’ve had a lot of those days recently – tomato blossoms tend to drop off without setting fruit. Blossoms also drop off if the plants don’t get enough water. When the heat wave passes and if we finally get rain, you’ll probably see the tomatoes begin to bloom and set fruit again.

QUESTION: Some of my tomatoes look ripe but when I go to pick them they still have green patches that don’t ripen. – J.H.

I found information that suggests that the green patches on ripe tomatoes may be due to the tomatoes being on the interior of dense plants with heavy foliage. It’s a condition called “blotchy ripening.”

At the same Web site, which is CornellUniversity’s Vegetable MD Online, there are pictures of  tomatoes with catface, cracks, russeting, zippering and other common disorders. If you want to see just about anything that can go wrong in a tomato patch, find it here.



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