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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.

Photos:

  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.

Photos


Comments

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

Posted on 06 Feb 09 (about 10 years ago)

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