ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gardening in Georgia: Heat, Humidity, and Scorched Tomatoes

Updated on November 16, 2012
Purple Iris blooming in early February in Georgia
Purple Iris blooming in early February in Georgia | Source

Gardening in Georgia can be rewarding as well as challenging. Our state did not experience a real winter this year. Did we have any cold weather? Yes, but not enough to kill back our plants and that is extremely unusual. Honestly, I cannot remember a time when our plants survived an entire winter without dying back to the ground. Due to mild temperatures, we had many plants, such as the Iris, blooming months before its natural schedule.

My husband and I decided, at the beginning of the year, that we should grow a portion of our food. This is a growing trend that has been gaining momentum in the past 15 years. Not knowing much about the food we consume or what pesticides or herbicides are used, is scary and intimidating in this era of food borne illnesses. We buy organic when we can, but still cannot be sure of the farming practices behind such food. Organics are more readily available in the local grocery store these days; but, are usually twice the price of the non-organics. So, why not grow a portion of the food we eat? How hard can it be? Actually, it's extremely hard, indeed.

Lettuce was a prolific crop during our mild winter
Lettuce was a prolific crop during our mild winter | Source

Is It Summer Already?

Gardening year round is something most Georgians have been able to do for a good while. The last two years have brought even milder conditions than normal during our winters. And, the lack of cold weather is taking its toll on our environment and gardening practices. Everything is off schedule including trees, flowering hedges, grass-everything.

We sowed seeds in January for lettuce, radishes, and carrots. The lettuce was particularly prolific and to our surprise did not get consumed by aphids. It was hardy and did not bolt until April; indeed we got our money’s worth from the low cost seeds. We actually loaded up many bags of lettuce to share with friends and relatives. We vowed never to buy lettuce again during winter months after being so successful with this crop.

The radishes and carrots did not fare so well. While we did get a few decent radishes, the intense heat that came early caused them to stop producing around the end of March. The carrots performed even worse. By the time the tops were bushing out, the bottoms stopped growing. I did manage to get a serving portion out of the crop when preparing the plots for summer plantings.

Squash plants are lush but lacking pollination of fruit
Squash plants are lush but lacking pollination of fruit | Source
Heat damage on tomatoes
Heat damage on tomatoes | Source
Roma tomatoes thriving in extreme heat
Roma tomatoes thriving in extreme heat | Source
Small Beefsteak tomatoes ready for canning
Small Beefsteak tomatoes ready for canning | Source

Sticky Pollen is a Problem

Toward the end of May, the temperature in Middle Georgia was rising above the 90 degree mark. We usually average between high 70s and low 80s during the month of May; this allows for gardeners to change out old plantings in anticipation of the summer months. We were not allowed such a luxury this year.

When temperatures rise above 90 degrees along with high humidity, many plants including the heat loving variety, stop producing. If the plants happen to continue to produce, the pollen may be too sticky from the humidity to pollinate the fruit. It has been such the case with our yellow summer squash. The plants have been lush, big, and healthy but the fruit shrivels up from lack of pollination. Even undertaking the additional step of hand pollinating the fruit has had little success due to stickiness of the pollen.

The tomatoes have been much better producers in the garden despite the heat and humidity. We have been able to can several batches of tomatoes for the upcoming season of fall soups and stews. Although tomatoes love the heat, they have suffered under blazing temperatures of 114 degrees. In early June, we had several days that lingered between 108 and 114 degrees; not many living things, including humans, thrive in such horrific heat. The tops of a few tomatoes, which receive direct sun, got burnt during this week , but most survived due to a lot of watering and mulching.

The Beefsteak tomatoes, grown from seeds, are more the size of junior hamburgers. We have fed them plenty of homegrown compost and organic fertilizer to be healthy and productive. We can only attribute their measly size to the extreme heat stunting their growth.

In contrast, the Roma tomatoes, purchased as plants, seem to be thriving in the heat compared to their slicing cousins. They are producing like crazy with healthy stalks and leaves. The beautiful Romas will hopefully result in producing many jars of homemade tomato sauce.

At the time of writing this Hub, we have at least three more months of summer temperatures to help the garden survive through. The summer squash is still struggling to produce, but it looks as it’s setting more fruit. The sweet potato slips planted in May are expanding their vines throughout the garden and over everything like Kudzu. We are anticipating having many sweet potato pies during the holiday season to enjoy with friends and family.

Best of luck in weathering the challenges of vegetable gardening!

About the Author

Catherine Dean is a freelance writer, gardener, quilter, and blogger. Her professional background includes nonprofit program development, grant writing, and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Georgia College & State University.

Her blog, Sowing A Simple Harvest, chronicles a modern couple trying to live a simplistic, sustainable life. To explore Catherine's professional credentials, visit her website. She can also be followed on Twitter.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)