When walnut trees go bad, or, that explains the rubbish tomatoes

I was fairly baffled by how poor my tomato crop was this year- I put it down to multiple heat waves, not pruning the tomatoes enough and possibly choosing the wrong varieties for the location…last year I had x2 tomato plants in pots next to the front door that didn’t receive much attention and they easily gave 10x the crop as my x6 plants in the potager.  How could I have messed up so much? 

I didn’t.

It was the walnut tree.

It is a big ‘ol tree

Apparently walnut trees have a nasty habit of producing a chemical called juglone.  Tomatoes (and potatoes, peppers and aubergines…there goes the ratatouille!) apparently hate this chemical and don’t grow well at all in the vicinity of a walnut tree.  Guess where we put the potager?

So I have a choice.  Find a new place to plant my favourite garden vegetables…or cut down the tree.  Don’t worry – the tree is beautiful – even if it is killing my tomatoes and gives lousy walnuts (apparently old walnut trees are pretty but not very productive…just destructive!).

Looks like I will have a second ‘potager’ of pots on the terrace and in between the scraggly roses (which apparently like tomatoes?!) in the flower beds by the front door.

On the upside- that leaves a lot of room for plants that don’t give a shit about juglone- which looks to be: onions, beetroot, squash (yeah, I already knew that), melon, carrots, parsnips, beans, corn, leeks…and also currants . I’ve been meaning to get a couple black currant plants anyhow, I hear the leaves make a nice tea.

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