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Hankering for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich?
Here's the skinny on how the cool, dry weather is affecting that summer favorite, tomatoes.
• Slow to ripen: Low temperatures have slowed the growth and ripening of tomatoes that have already formed. With a little warmth, that will change.
• Better harvests: The cool weather should lead to more tomatoes this year compared with last. That's because pollen dies at temperatures above 85 degrees. Last year was so hot, plants dropped many of their blossoms without developing fruit.
• Less blossom-end rot: Cool weather eases the loss of calcium that occurs during heavy watering in hot weather. That means less blossom-end rot.
• Helpful stress: Tomatoes need a little stress to spur them to produce fruit. Lack of water provides that stress, but don't neglect to occasionally water the plants. Also, be sure not to stop fertilizing.
• Fewer cracked tomatoes: Tomatoes crack when they're given a lot of water in their final days of ripening. Consistent watering is important.
• Mulch the ground beneath the plant: This allows for even temperatures in the soil and less demand for water. Both contribute to the quality of fruit.
Check out our Pinterest page for ideas and recipes using tomatoes and other foods.