ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers

Q Your article on ways to conserve water saved our vegetable garden, especially our tomatoes. We didn't know it was possible to use laundry and dishwashing water to keep vegetables growing. The newspaper mulch really worked, but we were sorry we didn't apply it at the beginning. One problem which our tomatoes developed on a few fruits is the appearance of a yellow spot on one side, which has since progressed to a papery white condition. Is this some kind of blight? The plants seem to be OK, especially after applying the mulch.


Waukesha, Wis.

Your tomato fruits have what is called sunscald. During extremely hot, sunny weather, sun hits fruit that is not shaded by foliage. If these fruits happen to be on a side of the plant that gets sun most of the day, and if, before you mulched, leaves temporarily wilted, leaving fruits exposed, some sunscald is inevitable.

Like many others, your area has had extreme temperatures and sun exposure. We have had many inquiries about sunscald.

Merely remove the spot where cells have broken down. The rest of the tomato is perfectly all right to eat.

Q This is the first year we have grown corn in our garden. We planted six short rows side by side, because we read in one of your columns that corn does not get pollinated well if only one or two rows are planted.

We followed directions for spacing and feeding. Your article suggesting the use of kitchen and bath water alerted us to water the plants. We are sure this helped stalks to stay green and ears to form on the stalks.

However, the kernels on the ears were few and far between. What could have happened?


Oxford, Mich.

We have received similar questions from many of the dry areas of the country. Even though people watered and mulched their gardens, many corn varieties did not produce well where temperatures were extremely high, especially when hot breezes added to the stress. Two things can happen under these conditions:

1.Pollen from the tassel can dry before it reaches the silk.

2.The ends of the silk, which must receive the pollen, have dried so much that pollen grains cannot lodge and grow down into it.

Each ovary has a silk attached to it, and it must receive pollen in order for it to grow into an edible kernel.

If you have a garden question, send it along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

Doc and Katy Abraham are nationally known horticulturists.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.




Save for later


Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items