By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

So, you put your peppers and tomatoes out last week and they haven’t grown an inch. Of course not. The poor things are shivering so hard their roots are barely staying in the ground. These are semi-tropical plants after all. Until the nighttime temperatures are consistently above 55, they are just going to sit there and pout.

You would think then, that very high nighttime temps would make them grow faster. Only to a point. If the temp gets above 90, at night or higher during the day, both peppers and tomatoes will not only stop growing they will drop all their blooms and just sit there and pout. Fussy little stinkers aren’t they. 

If some of your tulips or daffodils refused to bloom this spring, dig them up and pitch them or mark them. When the leaves die, about mid-July, dig them up and take a good look at the bulbs. If they are small either pitch them or plan to wait several years for them to get big enough to bloom. With daffs, move the larger bulbs to another location. Mark them, then give them one more year to shape up. If they still don’t bloom, it’s the compost pile for them. 

Have you noticed there are fewer bees this spring? There are three reasons for this. 

First, overuse by gardeners of pesticides and insecticides. Farmers have to be certified to apply this dangerous stuff. It’s too expensive for them to miss-use. Gardeners see a bug or a damaged leaf and its,”quick get the flit”. If this sounds like you, take a good look before you spray to be sure the bug is actually damaging your plant. If they are big enough, like a caterpillar, just pick it off, or relocate it. 

If the plant is sick, either remove the sick part or all of it if needed. A shot of strong spray from the hose will remove some bugs. Only if nothing else works, go for the chemicals. Be sure to read the label even if you have used this stuff before. 

The second reason for the lack of bees is that they are all cuddled up with a good book and a box of chocolates, waiting for it to warm up. they don’t like to be out in the cold as it slows them down and makes them more apt to end up as a bird’s lunch. Fruit trees will suffer as they depend on bees to pollinate them. Some may be pollinated by the wind, but this is an iffy situation. 

The third reason for shortage of bees is that honeybees are being parasitized by mites that kill bees. Beekeepers are working hard to get rid of the mites with some success. Apparently it’s not easy to do. Also, some farm chemicals disrupt the bee’s homing ability. They get bee Alzheimer’s and just wander off. 

Good gardeners use organic measures as much as possible to prevent diseases and kill bugs. They turn to chemicals only as the last resort. 

Follow the directions on the label. If it says 1 teaspoon per gallon, don’t put in a tablespoon full, thinking that will be more effective. Too much is often as ineffective as too little. 

Soon it will be hot enough to fry frogs and we will be bellyaching about the heat. Enjoy the cool while we have it. The tomatoes and peppers will catch up.