Of course it’s important for gardeners to pay attention to the weather all season long, but today is the last Spring frost date. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the probability of frost occurring after today is 30 percent. More extensive data is available from the National Climate Data Center if you are into that kind of stuff, but it’s generally safe to put tender plants in the ground now. It was indeed quite cool last night, down to 41 degrees or possibly lower at our house. Since my raised beds are fenced in, it’s relatively easy to drape a great big tarp over my entire garden. This works extremely well as a temporary greenhouse which really helps to improve results with such a short growing season. I’ve got just a little over 3 months until the first Fall frost date.
A couple of days ago, I noticed one of my tomato plants was not looking good at all. The top half was totally wilted and keeled over, but the bottom leaves looked fine. The plant had been looking great for a whole week, so I don’t think it was transplant shock. We did have some cool, wet weather, so it might have something to do with that. Unfortunately my 3 varieties of tomato plants that I started in mid-March got mixed up, so I’m not even sure which type of tomato it was that died. I’m pretty sure Bonny Best and New Yorker are well adapted for the North. Black Brandywine is supposedly a little more high maintenance so perhaps it was one of them. I’m excited to see if I can tell the difference between them when they mature. They all smell so good!
I don’t know much about diagnosing tomato diseases but I read a little bit about bacterial wilt, and two other causes of wilt caused by fungi, Fusarium and Verticillium. I’m not totally convinced that any of those are the cause, so I will try to replant since I have plenty of extras. If the same thing happens again then I might start to believe that there’s a disease in my soil. I am of course hoping there’s not, and that nothing spreads to the other plants.
I went ahead and put my collection of chili peppers in my new raised bed! Ring of Fire, Buena Mulata, and Shishito, all started from seed, plus Super Chilis that came from last year’s harvest. This bed is not fenced in like my larger raised beds, so hopefully the critters behave. Since these are planted somewhat close together, I did not prune them. But I am experimenting with pruning my potted peppers to make them grow larger and bushier, and hopefully more bountiful. 2nd photo shows a plant that I pruned last week, now branching out. 3rd photo shows a young plant freshly lopped off.
I have been pinching off flowers and buds from my tomatoes and peppers. I think they should become a little more established before expending resources to bear fruits.