Seed Swaps

Ouch! There goes the tomato crop.

06 Feb 2009
Sunny 43°C / 109°F

Today is going to be another scorcher, following on from the three days above 43deg C on the 26th, 27th, and 28th January. Those three days knocked the tomato plants around badly, especially those that were in the south bed (100% full sun) – they’ve since been pulled out. The tomatoes under the partial shade of the Oak tree have held up a lot better but they are also suffering sunburn to the fruit as they have lost a lot of foliage. Today’s heat combined with the dry north winds will see the end of them. I’ll save the tank water for the peppers – they wilt but come straight back, and the fruit is mouth watering :-)

No tomato bottling this year :-(

Lessons learnt:
Under these ongoing drought conditions – 1mm of rain for all of January – normally 40+mm. Stage 3a restrictions

  • More water – duh! 2litre/hour drippers are okay for the pre-summer weather and plant establishment, but after that 4-8litres is probably needed. In days of yore, when the dams were full, 8 litre drippers were used for 20+ minutes. Move first dripper closer to the plant, say 200mm. Second dripper, on separate circuit, to within 100mm.
  • Plant further apart – these were 600-900mm (2’ – 3’)
  • Intercrop with Jerusalem Artichokes for shade and wind protection? The self sown tomatoes have done well amongst the artichokes – so long as the close leaves are stripped from the Artichokes (Tomato plant abrasion)
  • This sandy soil is always in need of organic matter. So – priority #1, continue with the green manure and cover crops . Oats and Vetch worked very well. Clover worked almost too well, ie:- can’t afford to dripline water it as it won’t die back quickly enough and competes with the young seedlings. Use individual drippers.


  1. Jerusalem Artichokes are the greenest plants, the green topped browns are the tomatoes – shudder!
  2. As they were on the 16th after (comparatively) mild heat.
  3. Uugh! – immediately prior to removal
  4. Root system – same plants – the long horizontal root was travelling under the oat mulch towards a dripper.
  5. Root system – same plants – a healthy white clump with no apparent problems.



Alas! Some things even more water won’t fix.

Posted on 06 Feb 09 (about 10 years ago)

Would you like to add a comment? Sign up for a free account, or log in if you're already a member.