You can tie a plant to a trellis but you can’t make it grow.
I learned this the hard way when I discovered that my truss tomatoes are not growing very well and not likely to reach maturity.
Most of the fruit reached a certain size and were looking quite green and healthy, then started to develop some kind of blotching on the skin and start to wither. The stems and the leaves of the plant also started to wither.
The garden is at the back of a rental property on the south coast of New South Wales, about 2 hours south of Sydney, Australia. The soil is generally fertile in a region famous for dairy farming and viticulture, although the garden had been stripped of much of its nutrients when I moved in, courtesy of the previous tenant’s neglect and a dry winter. The garden attracts quite a lot of sun, during very warm summer months and even during colder winter months in what is typically a temperate climate. The area is also famous for beaches and surfing, which is great after a day of hard yakka in the garden.
Maybe the tomatoes didn’t like sleeping in a cot – the name I gave to the garden, or baby bed. I created a small and narrow garden bed for the truss tomatoes and I think it may simply have been too small for the fruit.
I created a smaller bed because I had limited space in the area of the garden which was likely to attract a sufficient amount of sunlight. Maybe the small garden bed didn’t provide enough nutrients for what is quite a large tomato. Ironically, I planted the smaller cherry tomatoes in the larger garden bed (these are growing well and are very tasty).
It is frustrating to see my labour bear no fruit, even more so after constructing quite a large trellis on which to tie the fruit. The trellis took me quite a long time to construct and is the biggest constructed feature in the garden – but will not supply me with anything for my dinner plate.
I think it is also too late to plant anything else in the garden bed, because we have now officially entered autumn in this part of the world – although I may throw in a few corn seeds and see what happens because this plant seems to grow almost anywhere with sufficient water and sunlight. I am quite certain that the soil is still reasonably healthy because it is a mini no-dig garden bed with a healthy supply of grass clippings, manure and potting mix, topped with mulch.
However, I will have no more need for the trellis and might have to call in the heavy machinery to tear down my mega-structure.
I could make a reality TV episode out of it.