After admiring Thea and Luke’s posts about their garden adventures on social media, we asked Thea if she’d write something for our inaugural round of How does your garden grow? And she did!
Text and photos by Thea O’Loughlin
This single Tigerella was the only edible fruit in 2015 from twenty tomato plants. I had been warned about fruit fly, but thought my produce would be protected by positive thinking. I was wrong, and all our tomatoes were affected. Yes, even the cherry tomatoes! I learnt the lesson the hard way and had to rip out all tomatoes early in the season.
This year, we took things more seriously. We got a lot of advice from websites, friends and ESPECIALLY from expert local growers at SSAW. We spent many nights sewing netting and took many trips to the tip shop to erect a 7m long by 3m high fruit-fly exclusion zone. This houses 18 tomato and 4 chilli plants of varying varieties. We also bait for wasps both inside and out of the netting. All that effort was worth it, because now we harvest over 3kg a week of un-spoilt tomatoes!
Although we may have found a way to combat fruit-fly, we are always finding another critter to wage war against! Spined-citrus bugs and green vegetable bugs favour our lemons and kale, while green caterpillars appear to worm their way into our bigger tomato varieties!
Gardening, especially discoveries and harvesting, is exciting! I often share these moments on social media. I’ve been called a ‘hipster gardener’ for doing that! However, I think growing your own food is one of the most sustainable, healthy, and delicious things anyone can do. Sharing these moments keeps family and friends involved and may also inspire others to grow their own produce too!