How to get the most out of your Ohio garden in terms of fruit production

(WKBN) – You’ve spent countless hours planting, watering, weeding and yes, even talking to your lawn, and now it’s lush and green, but your plants aren’t producing any fruit – why is that?

There are a range of reasons why plants may not set fruit, including an imbalance in nutrient levels, lack of pollination or overheating, among others.

How soil nutrients and pH affect plant growth and fruit production

Different nutrients in the soil produce different results in terms of plant growth, and different plants react differently to those nutrients.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center provides details of the three most important mineral nutrients found in soil: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Soil can sometimes lack these minerals because plants absorb too much of them. To avoid depleting your garden of these nutrients, it is important to rotate your plants year after year because different plants absorb different levels of different nutrients.

nitrogen It is part of all living things, and in the case of plants, it is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis. Helps plants grow quickly and increases fruit production. It often comes from applying fertilizer, so if your plants are growing slowly and bearing little fruit, it could be a sign that your lawn needs more nitrogen.

phosphorous It also plays an important role in the process of photosynthesis, as it helps convert solar energy into chemicals, which are involved in the formation of oils, sugars and starches. It also affects the rate of plant growth, and it also encourages flowering and root growth.

potassium It is absorbed by plants in greater amounts than any other mineral except nitrogen and helps build protein, fruit quality and disease reduction.

Soil pH greatly affects the presence of minerals in the soil. Adding lime to the soil can raise the pH to an optimal level of 6.0-6.5 while also providing calcium and magnesium. Soil tests can be purchased from garden centers to help determine which minerals you may need to add for a successful harvest.

What role do pollinators play in the garden and why is pollination important?

While some people may be afraid of bees, they are a gardener’s best friend! Honeybees account for 80% of the pollination of flowering plants, including more than 130 varieties of fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA.

There is a wide variety of pollinators including bees, beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, and even the wind.

However, bee populations, as well as other pollinator species, have seen their numbers rapidly decline in recent years. If you do not see bees and various other insects on your plants, this may be the reason that your plants are not bearing fruit.

There are two types of flowers: male and female. The pollinator’s job is to transfer pollen from the pods of the male flowering to the stigma of the female, effectively fertilizing the female plant and leading to fruit production.

If your garden lacks insects, it is possible to pollinate the flowers manually; Simply take a cotton swab and rub it on the pods of a male plant, then using the same end of the cotton swab, rub it on the stigma of the female plant.

It is possible to distinguish between male and female flowers based on their shape. The pictures below are of two pumpkin blossoms, male and female. Female pistils consist of multiple segments while male stamens are single segment.

How does temperature affect plants?

Plants are very sensitive to temperature extremes, as are humans, although most of them are much more sensitive than us. The ideal temperature for plants is between 60-85 degrees, according to the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Branch.

Once temperatures exceed 85 degrees, plants can begin to suffer from heat stress, which is characterized by wilting or drooping leaves and flowers. High temperatures cause the water stored in the leaves to evaporate faster than the roots can absorb it.

Another thing to be careful of is not to water the plants during peak hours when it’s hot. Watering plants during extreme heat can cause the water temperature to rise so high that it can begin to cook the roots of the plant. To avoid this, it is best to water your plants early in the morning or at night.

Harris Seeds states that excessive heat can cause plants to drop their flowers, even if they have been pollinated. If it is too hot, the plant’s ovary may not develop, making it impossible to produce fruit.

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