Had my usual stroll through the garden and have decided you’re coming with me. Spent time picking off green caterpillars from the Bairnsdale cabbages, kicked off a few weeds and marvelled at Jonny’s emerging carrots; we planted them together only a week ago and determined little green hairs of carroty promise are pushing through. Jonny is staying with his school chum, Tom (got a pool) so he won’t know about his new little charges until Nestor drives him back home tomorrow. I must speak to Jonny about missing the moment. I was at all four of my children’s births and just for the record, so was Angela. Apparently, had I missed the delivery, my paternal bond would be less assured than it is now. Hmm, hard to know. Better watch to see if the carrots prefer me to Jonny as a result of him spending time with his mates rather than attending to family duties. I suspect someone will be in need of therapy… Probably me.
Back to the stroll. Something is chewing my chilli plants, effectively ring-barking them just above the soil and cutting off nutrient, water and therefore life. No big deal, only two plants out of 300 or so, but will be keeping a close look to see if the culprit (probably lawn beetle) is on the move. Two more plants down and it’s a mayday call to Dr Paul Horne from IPM technologies, my war council on little invasion strategies.
Anyone growing cabbages is probably a caterpillar breeder too. Have a look at this juicy specimen, already halfway through the coleslaw. I turned my back on the Bairnsdale cabbages for what seemed like a minute, and what the hell! A battalion of grubs materialised and are attempting to deprive me of what Gerald promised me to be the greatest little cabbage he’s grown for use in coleslaw. I will be sending this photo to Dr Paul Horne for general advice. Currently, however I am avoiding sprays and walking the two rows, gathering the grubs and throwing them to delighted chickens. But, is there a better way? Let’s see.
Now, here’s the disturbing thing and the reason I’ve put… Used to be pen to paper, is it now fingers to keyboard? At any rate, the tomato plants, all varieties, are in excellent condition. Sturdy stemmed, vigorous growth and deep green, however only relatively few flowers. Noel Jansz from Elders Bainsdale, what do you recommend? Probably should be picking back more laterals so the plants can redirect growth towards cropping, but have at the back of my mind the need to keep enough foliage to screen fruit (technically berries to the pedant) from the harsh summer rays ahead. Over to you Noel… Or perhaps Vince from Neutrog, should I apply a planet friendly feed of flower promoting fertiliser? Hope to hear from you soon.
It sounds like your tomatoes are healthy enough, Tomatoes require careful nutritional management to ensure high yields of top quality fruit. Nutrients must be balanced to achieve early vigorous vegetative growth followed by heavy flowering and fruit set on less vigorous growth. The number of flowers produced depend on an adequate supply of nitrogen, i have also used elither a spray of magnesium sulphate at 2kg/100lt or if you can through irrigation 20-25kg/ha. Look at potassium from first green fruit through to harvest. This should lead to a high yield of firm, large fruit.
God, you Janszes are reliable. I will be checking in with Vince from Neutrog for an organic supply of potassium. In the past I have been saving my winter accumulation of ash from our fireplace. Back then our crop was very much smaller. Will let you know what we come up with.
Exposure to sunlight – Sunburn can also occur when the plant is stressed for water, when not enough water was applied, or disease has reduced the plant’s ability to take up water.
Solution: Maintain good water management. Protect against leaf diseases to maintain good leaf cover. Damage does usually occurs after picking when the foliage has not been placed back over the fruit or the bushes have been physically damaged, suddenly exposing fruit to the sun, Elders weather tells me Bowral has not peaked for summer temps it might be a good time redirect growth now.
I have erred on the side of leaving more foliage on the plant. rather than too little. … quite the opposite to pruning the Orchard. You’re right, all of our hottest Bowral summer days are ahead of us, so the fruit will appreciate the shade.
Sounds like Cutworms are ring barking your chilli’s and can cause major damage if not controlled. Larvae of the brown cutworm Agrotis munda and the black cutworm Agrotis ipsilon. Areas that were weedy just before planting are most affected. Damage often occurs during the first night of planting and may continue for up to three weeks. I would like to here from Paul Horne on any IPM strategies of cutworm he might have used.
let me know if you would like me to share my control methods i used in horticultural crops for cutworm.