Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bacterial wilt and growing tomatoes

A very common problem in the wet tropics is bacterial wilt.  This affects any plants in the Solanaceae family, tomatoes, capsicums and eggplant specifically.  The almost wild  cherry tomatoes seemed more resistant although last year even they did not do well, but that could also be because the dry season was very wet. I think we are overdue for a good dry season so I have planted a lot of vegetables in anticipation.
I started a new bed along the back fence in order to practice crop rotation and also imagined that if I grew them in pure compost, the problem would not occur.  Wrong - I bought a six pack of "tropic" which is supposed to be resistant and they all keeled over,  along with all the eggplant. There are a few cherry tomatoes that seem to be surviving.  Funny though that I have an eggplant that has been growing for over two years in the front garden, and although it doesn't look that healthy it just keeps producing.  I wonder if it has generated its own resistance (I have saved some seeds) or if there is no bacterial wilt in the front garden.

While in the big smoke last week I found these gimmicky plastic bag vegetable systems marked down to 5.00 each. 
 They are filled with a sterile coir and you have to add fertilizer, which was also marked down.  There was just enough room for it along the back fence with nothing else going on. Tomatoes are 8/kg right now, so I have a real hankering for them.  Gosh, I thought, I better give it a go, but by the time I do harvest tomatoes they will probably be dirt cheap in the shops.  So I filled my little plastic bag with water, and the coir puffed right up.  Into the holes I mixed some of the fertilizer and the Roma tomato plants, and also a couple of eggplant seedlings that I grew from heirloom seeds.  

The remainder of those will go out in the front, amongst the flowers.
Gardening in the tropics is certainly an adventure.  Next on my list is a way to find out how to stop the little green grasshoppers.  Garlic chili spray seems to have slowed down the tiny green caterpillars that made lace of every green leaf in the vegetable garden, but the grasshoppers seem to like the taste!


  1. Hope your green bag works. Even if tomatoes come down in price homegrown always taste best.

    Can't help with the grasshoppers - I've used a spray of chilli and soapy water which slowed them down but they still had a good feed. I usually spray my "special" plants and let them eat the rest.

  2. I didn't know tomato is that expensive in Australia. Good thing you are growing them. Even if the price goes down eventually, yours will be healthier than the ones from the shop.

    My tomatoes always attract those leaf eating lady bugs.

  3. Hi Gillian. I was sure I left a comment the other day. Blogger proabably ate it. It seems to be doing that lately.
    All I said of any interest I think was - I use a chilli and soapy water spray, but only on the "good" plants and just let the grasshoppers eat the rest. (hoping they will leave the chilli tasting ones alone) It slows them down but they will still have a bit of a chomp.

  4. You certainly are a persevering gardener in the tropics. I have been trying to establish a veggie patch for a few years now. Even though it is improving every year it is still not as good as I would like. We did get a good bean crop this year. The parsley was good too but it has started to rot from the rain. I love your rest area too.

  5. One,
    Since cyclone Yasi wiped out our vegetable growing region all of our produce has become very expensive.
    there was a strange blogger phenomenon over he weekend - it said closed for maintenance, but there were other weird issues. Oh so you "donate" some plants to the grasshoppers? Interesting concept! I tried leaving a few empty eggshells around like was recommended on Gardening Australia, but I think that has attracted more of the little white moths!
    I do so love it when things work, so think that is what keeps me going. :) My beans this year are not looking that great, but I am hoping it is going to be cool enough for snow peas - I love them. Gosh I didn't think parsley could ever get too much rain.

  6. I have missed a couple of your posts as things have been really busy around here, and unlike some of you who seem to get such a lot done in a day as well as maintaining your blogs and visits to your favourites, I just seem to get slower & slower...I tell my husband that it's because I'm so thorough! Actually, it really is just because I'm SLOW!!! ;)

    Anyway, I'm here now to see what you've been up to while my back was turned...I see you're being as inventive as always! What an inspiration you are :)

  7. Desiree,
    Ah no.... I probably should spend more time on housework and less time out in the garden :) Next weekend I promise - lots of housework! Luckily most of our entertaining is done out in the garden!


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