small plants

Asked November 15, 2019, 5:44 PM EST

Looking at the soil test, is there anything that would suggest why this year, for the first time, my plants were small. Tomatoes which usually are around 5 ft tall were maybe 3 ft this year. My eggplant was not over 18 inches and did not produce well.

Van Buren County Michigan

4 Responses

I am assuming that you fertilized your soil in accordance with the recommendations on the soil test.
We had a very wet spring and it took the soil quite a while to warm up which definitely affects plant growth and fruit set. Even if you planted your tomatoes at the same time this year, the cooler soil temperatures would have stopped growth until the soil warmed up.
Tomatoes and eggplant are heat lovers and their development could have been affected by the weather.
It would be interesting to keep a log of the weather over the growing season, plus the fertilization of the plants. Weather affects plant growth more than we think.
If you remember, the corn in July was not very high at all and farmers commented that the weather highly unusual this year.
Where I live, a little north of you, we did not have a lot of really warm days this summer. My late summer raspberries set fruit but cold weather set in before all of them could ripen.
It would be interesting to keep a log of the weather over the growing season, in addition to recording when and with what you fertilized your garden. Weather affects plant growth more than we think.

The weather records should be available thru the weather service. What would you be looking for? Would you be needing to compare the weather to other years...I guess there are averages that could be compared...

This year was remarked as being different from previous growing years in terms of late warm up of soil, early rainfall and cooler temps during the summer.
Take a look at " This is a tool for farmers but can be useful for home gardeners.
You will see a map of Michigan. Click on the MSU ag station closest to you.
You will be using 50F degree days as your basis.
If you were scouting the emergence of a garden pest, you would click at the top "vegetables" narrow down which crop and you can see the number of degree days (above 50F) when this pest will emerge. This gives you information on when to scout for a pest.
For your QUESTION, howevere, scroll down to 5 year summary of temperature, rainfall and degree day summaries.
You will see that this year the rainfall is higher than past years and the degree days are less (number of days over 50F).

According to the How to grow eggplant(and tomatoes) both plants need long hot summers. We didn't have that this year.

Thank you for taking the time...I will follow up.