August merged seamlessly into September, the drought continued and the bugs, despite my best efforts continued to thrive and multiply.
The latest visitor to take up residence bored its way into several of the tomatoes, growing in pots. Once discovered I quickly disposed of these (that’s the tomatoes not the pots) and then wished I’d cut open one of the tomatoes to discover who had moved in. I’m still none the wiser as to their identity – any clues please?
Over the last few days I’ve been so absorbed in other gardening projects that I shamefully admit I neglected to watch over all the tomato plants growing in containers.
You can imagine my concern when I noticed that the end of some of the tomatoes, grown in one particular container, looked sort of flat. Curious, I went over to investigate and to my horror the end of the tomatoes were black and moldy.
This is not a pest, parasite or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low-level of calcium in the fruit itself.
Further investigation, on a variety of other gardening websites, revealed that blossom end rot is a common problem with container grown tomato plants because if watering is not consistent and the tomato plants are allowed to dry out they are then unable to absorb the calcium in the soil.
NEVER LET THE COMPOST DRY OUT – KEEP MOIST! OK, Piglet is guilty as charged and the loss of about eight tomatoes due to blossom end rot is entirely down to neglect!
Lucky, because with a bumper crop of tomatoes in other pots I was beginning to panic I was about to lose my entire crop due to a nasty disease!
Too much nitrogen in the soil can also cause rot. In this case, a handful of lime around the base of each plant might help. It is important to cut back on your fertilising or switch to a brand that has a low nitrogen and high phosphorous to high potassium ratio. Standard tomato feeds are usually high potassium.
I then went on to read if I over water my tomato plants I could end up with “Splitting Fruit”.
I also read somewhere about using Epsom Salts – anyone tried this?
Another lesson learned!!!
Sometimes I feel gardening is almost like rubbing your tummy while patting your head at the same time!
There is never a dull moment here at Piglet’s plot!
What other common or not so common pests and diseases should I be aware of?
My Michelin star garden restaurant for all bugs and critters…or a diary of my ups and downs while gardening in Portugal