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Saturday’s Newspaper Snippet: Wise & Otherwise

Today’s post mentions my 3rd Great Grandfather John Pierse.  I had a laugh reading this because the biggest and best crop of tomatoes I have ever grown was at our married quarter at Kapooka in 2003.  We called them ‘the triffids‘ and the family consensus was they were the nicest tomatoes any of us had ever had!  I didn’t stake them either and just let them grow freely into the massive plants they became.  I have not been too active growing vegetables recently (Covid 19 got me back into it and my current plantings are growing very nicely at the moment) but I am looking forward to growing tomatoes again this year, especially now and they won’t be staked either!

Source:  WISE & OTHERWISE. (1906, October 17). The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1928), p. 3. Retrieved from


The worst system of growing tomatoes (and now is the time for planting out) is to allow the plants to run wild, sprawling on the ground ; the fruit becomes inferior owing to its contact with the earth, and takes longer to ripen.  This doesn’t always follow, as Mr John Pierse, of Darbalara, grows, or did a year or two back, some “bonster” tomatoes, very large and excellent flavour, and never staked or trellised the plants.


Apparently he was very well known for his “Shadybrook” tomatoes as I found more articles about his tomato growing prowess!  “Shadybrook” was the name of the family property by the way.  I get the impression that there was a long running debate between the authors, other gardeners and my great great great Grandfather about the best way to grow tomatoes!

SO WAGS THE WORLD (1915, December 21). The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1928), p. 2. Retrieved from

How are you on tomatoes, Mr. Sullivan?  Are you an expert in cultivating the wholesome and delicious fruit-vegetable?  Some people say you should stake them and tie them up : others say no. let them run on the ground.  Mr John Pierse, of “Shadybrook,” Darbalara, has grown the finest tomatoes in the District, if not the State and he never staked them.  My education has gone no farther than acquiring a taste for the tommytoe.

DISTRICT NEWS (1918, January 31). The Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate (NSW : 1898 - 1928), p. 4. Retrieved from

Of course, it would not pay to go to the expense of staking when tomatoes are grown for the market ; but we would advise those with small plots to stake them and thin out the thick foliage.  Mr. John Pierse, of “Shadybrook” has been growing tons of tomatoes (mostly for the benefit of his friends) for years, but he never staked, yet the “Shadybrook” tomato was excellent, both in size and flavour.  Still if you have a small garden and a dozen or so plants, stake them - you will find it all the better if you do.


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