Look familiar? You can blame the hot weather if your tomato plants aren't setting fruit!
It happens every year and gardeners pull their hair out, watering and watering hoping to correct the problem. There's nothing that can be done, Mother Nature will eventually cool off and you'll get tomatoes off those vines... just be patient and keep them watered! There's no reason to watch the weather forecast, it's going to be a long, hot summer no matter where you are this year. Arkansas is already facing drought conditions statewide. As bad as that sounds, it's nothing like drought plagued states face with ongoing dry conditions and no relief in sight.
Lantana- heat lover and very drought tolerent!
My favorite way to water is hand watering, as I walk around the yard I can see the areas that need it the most and give them a little extra. We had a really dry spot at the top of the yard... I say top because our hillside is almost vertical and we all know that water runs downhill! The grass up there is sparse and in some places it's brown. A closer look after planting some purple coneflowers showed the dirt was hard as a rock, we were missing watering that area completely. A few days of hand watering and the grass looks much better. Keeping the newly planted perennials alive may be a trick in this heat.
Setcreasea or "Purple Heart" great plant for hot and dry conditions.
How you water can prevent some common garden problems. For instance watering some plants from the top, especially beans and cucumbers can bring on mildew. Try your best to get the water to the underside of the plants and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches. One of the best ways to do that is a low flow watering wand or even better, soaker hoses that water slow and deep. You can go about your other yard work while they do the job!
Portulaca - flowers all summer and will thrive in dry hot spots along drive way or walkway, often reseeds in garden!This time of year when it gets hot and dry, you may notice water seems to run off the top of your soil instead of soaking in. You may be shocked to see it's not went much more than a quarter or half inch deep. This is because of salts accumulating at the surface. Watering deeply will correct this problem. Set the sprinklers up for 45 minutes to flush the salts away. A little digging after you water will tell you if it's soaked in. Mulching is the answer for many areas that need the extra moisture and watering twice a day when the temps are hovering near 100 will save your plants. Watering in the morning allows the plants to dry off quickly and keeps mildew at bay but it also keeps the slugs and snails away. Newly planted seeds or transplants will need diligent watering to keep them alive. And one more thing, don't forget to WEED, they will rob your garden of moisture!
As hot as it is, it's not too early to start planning for your fall garden. Even if the plants you put in early this spring haven't done so well, the heat won't last forever. If you wait until late summer to plant seeds or transplants, they just might not have enough time before Old Man Winter decides to make his first appearance!