From that header you might think I’m about to to gloat…or even complain about a glut of produce.
I have (quite inevitably really) learnt the hard way what happens when you get ahead of yourself and your gardening experience.
Too many tomato plants + not enough experience = not so many lovely ripe tomatoes!
Don’t get me wrong, we have not been bereft of tomatoes. In fact, the cherry tomatoes have been keeping us in good supply from quite early in Summer and are still going strong well into Autumn.
There is nothing quite so lush and productive in the garden at the moment as my Wild Sweeties and Tommy Toes. But the wonderful varieties of larger tomatoes I planted have not done so well. Purple Cherokee, Black Prince, Amish Paste, have all gone by the by. Black Russian and Burnley Sure crop got off to a great start but are now barely hanging in there. Tigerella produced well at first and fought valiantly to survive, but she’s done for. Why? Well, apart from my general ignorance, these have been the biggest issues…
1. I never did get just how big those tiny little seedlings were going to grow. Hence the stakes I used were too small, bendy and weak for the task. Naturally I followed up my folly by trying to re-stake the plants and killed a couple by stabbing them through the heart. OK, roots then.
2. I planted too many tomatoes too close together. Add a bit of warmth, a bit of damp and…you get the picture…another couple bite the dust.
3. These &*%@#* bugs
Just last January I was wittering on about how I have Harlequin bugs (Dindymus Versicolour) in my garden but that they don’t seem to do much damage. How wrong could I be?! I just hadn’t found their favourite snack yet! At first I worried about them spoiling the fruit (which they do with joyful abondon) but it took a while to twig that they were sucking the life out of the stems too. Good grief, what little horrors they are!
If I’m honest my gardening hygiene wasn’t what it should be either. I wasn’t quick enough to monitor, pick off and dispose of spoiled fruit, so this did give the bugs a foothold that I’ve been sorely regretting. I’ve picked up my game and this has helped, but now the season is coming to an end so I’m left with looking to improve my skills for next year.
I have also been trying to research organic ways to control the Harlequin bugs with little avail. Like many shield and stink bugs they respond to a passing shadow by scampering off to hide, so they are hard to get hold of for a good squishing. Home made White Oil seems to have helped a bit, it’s not great on the tomatoes in sunny warm weather.
So, if anyone has any good organic ideas that aren’t going to hurt the bees and the butterflies I would love to hear them!
Have a lovely week,