Thursday 17 July 2014

More disasters!

If it's not one thing, it's another! First the problems with the contaminated compost, and now Blossom End Rot. I suppose my tomato plants are weaker than they would normally be, and thus less resistant to disease, because (growing in the self-watering containers) they have certainly not been the subject of erratic watering which is often cited as a cause of Blossom End Rot, and I have been feeding them with proprietary tomato food which should have provided the right balance of nutrients.

There is no mistaking the signs of this disease.

It takes its name from the fact that it starts in the blossom end of the tomato fruit - in other words the end which is furthest from the stalk / calyx.

Not a pretty sight, is it? And there is nothing you can do once the fruit is affected. It will spread throughout the fruit until the whole thing goes brown and mushy.

As if that weren't enough, look at this:-

What a sorry sight! That is a Purple Sprouting Broccoli plant that has been attacked by the Cabbage Root Fly. The fly's maggots eat into the plant's roots, and gradually degrade its ability to take up moisture, thus causing it to collapse. Even before this happens, you will see the plant's leaves fade and take on a matt finish, at which point you know the plant is doomed.

This is what a healthy PSB plant is supposed to look like:

Unfortunately even my spare plants have been affected, so as a last resort I have sown some more PSB seeds. They probably won't mature in time, but I feel obliged to try. This gardening malarkey can be a bit depressing at times...

Looking on the bright side though, I keep reminding myself that this year the Radishes were brilliant; the Broad Beans were brilliant; the Potatoes were (are) brilliant; the Lettuces were (are) brilliant, etc, but it's maybe not reasonable to expect EVERYTHING to be perfect. I must expect a few failures, or at very least a few casualties along the way.


  1. We all have failures in the garden. Sadly with the compost you got more than you should. I lost one broccoli and two cabbages this year to the root fly (one broccoli actually recovered which was a shocker). Usually growing them under a row cover protects them, but I didn't protect the seedlings when they were young and I think they got infected that way. Though it could be the flies got under my row cover too. I hope you don't have a lot of them infected. I know the PSB is your favorite crop.

  2. You certainly have had your share of trials. But, as you mentioned, a fair share of success. I suppose that's what keeps us coming back.

  3. I'm having tomato problems too Mark - blossom end rot, flowers falling off before they have set - only one truss on a fully grown plant - hardly any fruits per truss - very disappointing and frustrating like you say - you do sometimes wonder if it is worth all the bother.

  4. I agree with you, you can't expect everything to be perfect. Nothing actually is. Garden is a living being, it grows, it dies, it suffers diseases and thrives. Like yours, my tomatoes are not at their best this year. But I will pick some anyway. And I will be happy because of that.

  5. Just let me die and go to heaven the year that everything in my garden is perfect, it couldn't get better than that. We gardeners are a resilient bunch, we have to be to stay in the game. Nevertheless, I feel your pain, it's maddening when things get munched or diseased. Good luck with your second round of PSB, perhaps you'll be blessed with a mild autumn and abundant bunches of broccoli just when you want it. I've got my fingers crossed for you.

  6. Oh Mark you are having some shocking problems lately. Is it too late for you to order some replacement plants?

  7. We have to be a determined lot to keep trying don't we?

  8. The best crop of a garden, year after year, is hope.

  9. There are definitely lots of successes and failures in growing. I'd say you have more success all-around than most!

  10. I suppose that's the ups and downs of being a gardener Mark. But that's what keeps it so interesting.
    Enjoy your plot this weekend although it might be a little soggy out there by all the weather reports I'm hearing this morning.


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