picking cherry tomatoes, vegetable garden problems solved
Photo: MAP/Nathalie Pasquel
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Tomatoes: No-Show Tomatoes

Quandary: The plants were beautiful. But the tomatoes never showed up.
Cause: Blame the weather. Many tomato varieties don't set fruit when nights are colder than 55 degrees F or warmer than 70 degrees. Scorching days pose their own set of problems; pollen diminishes when temperatures push above 85 degrees to 90 degrees. And the high humidity that makes so many of us sticky and sluggish plays tricks on pollen, too, making it hard for the wind to scatter it. No pollen, no fruit. Soil chemistry offers another explanation for a skimpy crop. Too much nitrogen fertilizer makes plants produce foliage like crazy—not fruit.
Cure: Go light on nitrogen-rich fertilizer (the label should say 4-12-4 or 5-20-5). And hedge your bets about when cold or hot weather will hit by growing some fast-maturing varieties as well as some that develop over a longer period. Your local nursery can help you choose types that thrive in your area.

Shown: Cherry-tomato vines are vigorous ramblers; avoid disease by staking the plants to keep the foliage off the ground.
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