Be kind to your vegetables. Watch for wilt. We’re all trying to save water, but keep an eye on tomatoes during hot weather. They can wilt easily when the temperature hits triple digits.
But is that wilt from lack of water or just normal? Reader L.L. Dirrim, a volunteer urban forester with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, reminds us that many tomatoes – especially potato-leaf heirloom varieties –and other large-leaf vegetables often wilt in the afternoon.
“They will wilt every day with or without water,” Dirrim said. “It’s what they do normally.”
Check the ground for moisture before turning on the hose. She passes on this additional drought-related advice from the National Gardening Association:
“Water only when your plants need it. Tomatoes like moisture, but overwatering is harmful. You not only waste water, but soggy soil will prevent the roots from getting the air they need. If your plants look a little wilted on a hot summer afternoon, that’s normal. They’ll perk up overnight. If plants are wilted in the morning, don’t wait – water them! A thorough soaking every four to five days on light, sandy soils and every seven to 10 days on heavy soils is a good general guide for irrigating (plants in the ground).”