Geoff McInnes was the man who introduced us to most of the organic liquid fertilizers that we use on our tomatoes and some of the other crops on the farm. Six years ago it was all new and some of the stuff sounded a little strange such as fermented calcium and Feather Tea so we affectionately referred to him as the Snake Oil Man.
At the time we all had problems with our tomatoes; up to 30% would not make it out of the field because they were split. Geoff helped us get more calcium into the plants which makes the cells more elastic and as the fruit enlarges the skin can expand at the same rate. Our splitting went from 30% to 5%. Another benefit was that the fruit size increased so we had an overall gain over the last six years of 50%. This is why the price of heirlooms has remained constant for this time.
Last Friday I walked the tomato field with Geoff looking at the late planting which will start picking in a couple of weeks. As there are so many bugs around this is a difficult crop. If the plant grows to fast, which means there is too much nitrogen in the sap and the aphids develop faster. The plant also need lots of calcium to reduce the blossom end rot which can occur in the heat stress of late August. White fly is always present and we have to watch out for Tomato Horn worm. Luckily we have an amazing population of lady bugs and Geoff was concerned that there are not enough aphids to feed them all. There are so many garden spiders making webs between the rows and parasitic wasps that the bad bugs are under control.
This week we are going to give the crop more fish emulsion, calcium and micro nutrients… Nigel