Sadly, this trial is closing early. I came back from holiday on Sunday to find well watered but dying/dead plants, with the tell-tale signs of an advanced case of blight. I was afraid this might be the case after hearing others tell of devastated crops and patio planter disappointment. The conditions seem to have been perfect for it. It could have started at any point over the two weeks I was in Italy, so potentially these plants have been ravaged by blight for 2 weeks. Had I been at home I might have staved off the inevitable end by removing the earliest affected plants.
This has all come too early to draw any conclusions about the efficacy of my jerry-rigged watering reservoir system. I got a total of one solitary cherry tom to ripen before going off on hols. Here’s what I would do differently next time.
- don’t bother growing tomatoes as they always get blight
- forget about this and grow tomatoes anyway
- add feed to the reservoir system from the start, the plants in the grow-bag group seemed to be responding well to the feed incorporated into the grow-bags by the manufacturer
- wrap the “reservoirs” (the plastic tubs) to prevent or limit build up of algae. I think I could use weed matting for this, to block out the light the algae need to grow.
- get some new, clean capiliary matting
- maybe get some bigger pots to compensate for lack of root room compared to the growbags
- start the plants off even sooner in the year for an earlier, blight-beating crop
In all seriousness I now strongly doubt the value of growing tomatoes outdoors – I have always got blight eventually, although usually much later on after a half-decent crop. I might put my reservoir system in the greenhouse, perhaps just a few tubs, I think I just about have space for three if I sacrifice a bit of shelf space.
Whilst I am annoyed about the trial, I am mostly peeved about the lack of tomatoes which are always fabulous off the plant and the source of a good chunk of my annual supply of chutney. Sorry apples, the burden is now all on you!
I’ll be back soon, with more garden and propagation shenanigans.