After reading David's info and photos showing the grub pests on Tomatoes, I took a look at mine.
Yup, grubs galore; munched fruit and chomped leaves.
These Tomatoes (Super Souix, Green Zebra and a volunteer) are in the new wicking beds - the ones I bought from Watersaver Gardens and filled within the last 6 months.
Now, it's got nothing to do with the gardens nor with the variety of Tomatoes.
It has everything to do with the nutrients in the mix I used,
Ho ho - for years I have used Searle's products. Searles are still a family company, formerly in Caloundra and now at Kilcoy. They used to make top quality mixes, composts and fertilisers.
The nutrients I used in these new beds was 5-in-1. It was a powerful mix which improved the veges no end. What has changed, I have no idea. I do know that now it does not have enough Calcium for Tomatoes. How do I know? Black bottoms! Otherwise known as blossom end rot.
I have added Gypsum to the bed and there has been an improvement but it is still not enough for these plants to continue fruiting with sound fruit.
The plants look OK, but there are grubs, grubs and more grubs. The Heliothis moth larvae and some greener grubs. Munching away at the fruit and the leaves. Those grubs are now compost ;-)
I firmly believe that what is in the soil is the key to what fruit is on the plants and how vigorous the plants are.
There's a lot of information around now about this issue - soil microbes with soil minerals. I can recommend borrowing the book Organic Growing with Worms from the Library and buying it if you find it useful.
When you start out with a new in-ground garden or a new wicking bed, adding these microbes in the form of compost, worm castings, worm liquid (it's not 'wee' btw, worms don't have urinary bladders ;)) it's leachate from the castings (worm crap). Minerals need to be added too and there's a ton of different ways to do that.
The plants will tell you that they are not feeling the best they could - bugs, grubs, diseases, nutrient deficiencies all point to something amiss with the soil. Something missing or too much of something. There's other issues too such as season, aspect, variety but a lot of 'garden problems' can be avoided or sorted with the right minerals and plenty of worms. For worms to flourish, they need microbes - bacteria and fungi to name two important ones. So if there's plenty of worms, probably there are plenty of nutrients too and your plants should be doing well.
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