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August Farmer Tip: Tomato Tips for a Desert Summer

This month’s farmer tip comes from Farmer Tom, garden and mushroom extraordinaire. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your late summer harvest and what to plant in the coming month!

By Thomas Bohannon

Tom Bohannon
Farmer Tom shows off his produce.

Summer is a difficult time to be a tomato plant in southern Nevada. Tomatoes don’t do well when temperatures exceed 90°F (32°C) for extended periods of time. When the weather reaches these temperatures, the water inside the tomatoes’ bodies sweats off (a process called evapotranspiration) at a rate faster than the roots can drink it up, even if there’s plenty of water in the soil. With our outdoor temperatures reaching above 110°F (43°C) in the summer, we can’t do much but put up temporary shade and hope the plants survive. 

school garden tomato

Be on the lookout for lots of healthy new growth as the weather cools down, and cut back any dead limbs. If your tomatoes look totally ragged and wasted from the blistering summer, you may just want to replant—get tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in the ground right now and sprinkle some basil and onion seeds or starts around them. Now is also a good time to plant our three sisters (corn, beans and squash/melon) as well as to start seeds like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale indoors to transplant in September. I also recommend throwing in some flowers among your food: we must keep the bees happy after all. Fall is just around the corner; don’t dismay in this heat!

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