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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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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 20, 2014 at 16:02

We all do it David! The search facility on this site is tedious. You get scads of 'results' to find that each result has about half a page of info, instead of just a link you can follow. Mostly it finds what you are looking for but can be a test of patience.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on April 20, 2014 at 10:17

Ah! I did not know about the mobility of Calcium. I have Gypsum, whether I could make that up into a spray I don't know. Whether powdered milk would have enough Ca to be useful, I can but try.

Most of the fruit coming now is 'black-bottom' free but still there's some affected.

If you check Joseph's photos you'll see some great photos of that wasp and the cabbage butterfly larvae. There's some posts about it, too on this forum.

Trap plants are a good system and leaning towards a Permaculture way. The Tropaoleum sp, aka Nasturtium, is a good trap plant for cabbage white butterflies. We need to keep our natural pest-controllers alive and breeding!

Comment by Christine Cox on April 15, 2014 at 13:51

I have not had any luck with tomatoes either in wicking or the other beds. Only the ones against the house that have come up without care and with no help on my part have produced fruit that looks like it might reach maturity.The tomatoes in the wicking beds have grown well but have only had a few eadable fruit. Bugs don't seem to be the problem here but maybe the rain has been too much. No happy medium.

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