Don’t get cocky halfway through the harvest

21 Feb

I often ponder my favourite foods. I’m a bit of a loony actually, and I often think about it in terms of “which food would I choose if I had to live on one food only for the rest of my life?” Tomatoes would have to be on the short list, along with Gravox pepper sauce. I might have trouble achieving self¬†sufficiency in the latter.

I have been getting some wonderful tomatoes from my three plants. They have been pest-free, delicious and plentiful. I have two cherry truss tomato plants and once mini roma. All F1 hybrids, as seems to be the way with seedlings from Bunnings.

My tomatoes

I have my tomatoes growing in the same place that Ron* has been growing them for years (so much for crop rotation). They are enclosed in a frame with shadecloth on all sides for protection from the sun and predators, but I haven’t been using the shadecloth because I haven’t needed it. You can see that my plants have well and truly outgrown their stakes and are approaching 8 feet tall. I really should pinch out the growing tips, but my climate is frost-free, and I’m greedy.

I have been struggling a bit with a fungal blight, which I have been controlling with an organic fungicide and some tomato dust. Considering the extraordinary humidity this year and the lack of crop rotation, I’m surprised it hasn’t been worse. I plan to plant a green manure crop of bio mustard once the tomatoes have finished, which will clean up the fungal spores in the soil, and hopefully let me plant tomatoes again in this spot in a couple of years.

Possum damage to my tomatoes

Last night I heard possums outside, and didn’t think much of it. This morning though I realised that all my ripe tomatoes were gone, and the ripest of the ones that were left had claw or teeth marks in it. I guess I know now what the shadecloth was for. I should never doubt Ron.

I have now rolled down the shadecloth on either side of the plants, but I have let them grown too high to be enclosed at the top. I’ll see how I go by just enclosing the sides, but I may need to take some drastic action.

* Ron is the man that we bought our house from. He and his wife Margaret were amazing gardeners.

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2 Responses to “Don’t get cocky halfway through the harvest”

  1. Sarah February 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    After seeing possums chomp through my chilli plants, I know there’s not much you can do once they decide to eat something! Chilli is supposedly a possum repellant too!

    • L February 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

      Oh dear! I think I might need to make some modifications to my shadecloth enclosure, or break out the chicken wire. Failing that, I’ve read about a solar powered electric fence ;P

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