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Old June 23, 2022   #1
CrazyAboutOrchids
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Default Frustrated in CT!

I posted this in the Polaris thread, but am reposting in hopes of advice...

All my tomatoes seem to be running behind. Not even a cherry yet this year! I did have flowers, but then we had a few days of 90+ days. We just recently got over a really chilly number of days (in the low 60's in June!) and now we're in for another hot spell.

My seeds were started March 20, plants all looking healthy - nice color bit diddly on fruit set. Well, that's not true. I have a few, but very few. I would think excess Nitrogen but my eggplant and peppers are normal sized and fruiting. I have squash starting, celery, beans, herbs. Cucumber is REALLY far behind. My onion, carrot and garlic all seem to be growing fin but I have dug down to peek at any. My beet is eh. Asparagus grew but I'm not supposed to pick from any until next year - slim pickings anyway.

My whole garden seems stunted this year as far as fruit set and I am flustered. Anything I can do to help kick it into gear? I do soil test each year and amend based on that. My PH is a tad high. Anyone else in my area having a slower than usual year?
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Old June 23, 2022   #2
bbjm
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Very hot and humid days are the norm here in NE Kansas. When fruit set slows due to lack of pollination, I get up very early during the coolest part of the day and buzz every truss that has an open flower with an electric toothbrush (available at the $1 store). Flicking the truss or shaking the cage would probably work just as well, but I enjoy buzzing the flowers. This process works very well for me. I probably don't get the fruit set like happens in early May when it's cooler, but this works well enough to keep me in tomatoes later in the summer. You might try this to see if it helps.

I will say I've not had issues with fruit set on the varieties of cherry tomatoes I grow, so I would not rule out some kind of nutrition issue, but hopefully, it is just a pollination problem and this will work for you.
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Old June 24, 2022   #3
slugworth
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cool nights are doing you in.
not to mention the lack of bees.
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Old June 24, 2022   #4
CrazyAboutOrchids
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slugworth View Post
cool nights are doing you in.
not to mention the lack of bees.
I was wondering about the bees.... You are in CT as well. I am Western side right along the border of NY. Are you having issues?
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Old June 24, 2022   #5
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I am from Virginia and Dealing with very Low insect levels. For my 6 year Old "This is good news because she hates any type of Bugs. So, I am learning to self pollinate.
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Old June 24, 2022   #6
slugworth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyAboutOrchids View Post
I was wondering about the bees.... You are in CT as well. I am Western side right along the border of NY. Are you having issues?
down by Long Island sound
people in the neighborhood are saying no bees and no green tomatoes.
I held off on some of my plants and just planted them yesterday.
Some of the plants don't even have blossoms yet.
underachievers.
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Old June 24, 2022   #7
b54red
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If the blooms are forming and not dropping off due to dry conditions I would give them a healthy dose of TTF wait three to five days and do it again. Make sure you have the soil well moistened and keep them mulched. You don't need bees to pollinate tomatoes you can do it yourself by using an electric toothbrush on open blooms. Just touch it to the back of the bloom and watch for a little explosion of pollen to come out. It doesn't do any good to vibrate unopened flowers or dying ones so look for the time in the early morning when most of the flowers open and get brushing.

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Old June 24, 2022   #8
KarenO
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Agree with Bill and will add to minimize any pruning which adds to stress and removes lateral branches with blooms that will set if the current ones don’t.
Water fertilize wait
It’s still early in the season mine are just starting to bloom here after record cold wet spring
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Old June 24, 2022   #9
slugworth
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wind works better than a whiter smile
use the leaf blower on them like greenhouse do.
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Old June 24, 2022   #10
eyolf
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A beekeeping friend keeps two hives here on the farm (I kick in with a bear-proof enclosure and buy about $200 worth of honey per year). Also encourage other pollinators native to the area (provide/create habitat and shelter...haven't indulged much on egg cases, etc.)

And yet, cool, damp nights has slowed everything. Rapid, severe swings, too. An overnight at 46° followed by one of 70° leaves plants wondering WTH?!

Last years hot, dry weather left us scrambling to water, but was very conducive to good yields from most warm-season crops. I expect less this year.

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Old June 24, 2022   #11
slugworth
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sometimes I leave plants in containers outdoors until the ground is warm enough.
Too many years I had stunted plants because the ground wasn't warm enough to walk on barefoot.
Rule of foot.Warm enough for bare feet warm enough for plants.
It doesn't pay to cheat and get into the ground too soon.
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Old June 25, 2022   #12
CrazyAboutOrchids
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Thanks for the ideas!

Like the leaf blower - lol - will work on pollinating. I do organics on my property and have loads of flowers all over. I did leave these starts in containers in the garden for a while. In past years I have started seeds about a month earlier but got tied up and didn't. Wanted to allow them to grow a bit before I put them in the ground - plus we often get that last cold snap that can do a number if you jump the gun. I am normally a bee heaven here but sadly not this year. I do not prune my plants so that's one thing.

Will follow the water, fertilize, wait approach. Thank you!!!!
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Old June 25, 2022   #13
slugworth
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Also,chainsaw without the chain for extreme electric toothbrush effect.
Rev her up and put against the plant.
I am in a windy area and I still have blossoms falling off because of no bees.
We still have months to go so I wouldn't get frown lines over it.
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Old June 25, 2022   #14
PaulF
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Even without apparent numbers of bees (honeybees?) there are huge amounts of pollinators out there doing that work. Lots of small wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, etc., etc. Here we have gone though a couple of years without seeing the expected number of honeybees but still have not seen a drop in pollination.

Our bumblebees are making a nice comeback and several different species of bee are buzzing around. Stupidly, I used to swat insect pollinators. Now only mosquitoes. My use of insecticide is almost nil as well. It is hard not to get after pesky insects buzzing in my ears or landing on my neck, but I try just to wave them off instead.

My tomatoes, the main crop in my garden, do not need pollinators but most other vegetables and flowers in the landscape do. So here's to the hundreds of other bugs helping the bees do their thing.
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Old June 28, 2022   #15
slugworth
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The weather reminds me of the good old days before global warming,so I may have some big tomatoes this year for a change.I used to have tomatoes 24oz+ all the time.
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