Latest posts by Italophile

Parsnip problems

Posted: 18/08/2015 at 07:33

March to November (or even later) is the normal parsnip cycle. If they're too big and woody, maybe consider another variety. There are any number of F1 varieties around that don't bulk up.

Parsnip problems

Posted: 17/08/2015 at 12:11

I suspect it means severely stunted.

The Purple Ukranian scandal! (tomato related!)

Posted: 17/08/2015 at 11:03

Leave it wherever it's warmest, Joe. A kitchen bench - out of the way, so it doesn't get in the way - is good. The kitchen is usually the warmest room in the house for obvious reasons. Or if you have a cupboard with a boiler in it, put it there. Light is immaterial. It's usually best to rest it on its shoulders to minimise bruising (the equivalent of bed sores, if you like) but keep an eye on it for that reason. Keep an eye on it, rotate it occasionally.

Splitting of this kind is usually caused by a sudden excess of moisture, the excess moisture swelling the fruit, the skin unprepared for the sudden stretch. Sudden heavy rain can cause it.

The Purple Ukranian scandal! (tomato related!)

Posted: 17/08/2015 at 07:03

Take it inside, Joe, you're only risking infection. The banana theory is popular, based on the banana producing ethylene gas that will hasten the ripening of the tom. It's the gas the suppliers use to ripen green supermarket toms in a hurry. It ripens them in terms of turning them red but it doesn't mature them, hence supermarket toms being red but immature inside. Toms produce enough of their own ethylene, let it ripen at its own pace, on the inside and outside.

Moving Asparagus

Posted: 17/08/2015 at 06:53

Shame about the losses. The poor old survivor is suffering from shock. Cut it back in late autumn, cover it well with compost or organic material with some balanced fertiliser mixed in, give it a good water, and it should be all right.

tomato stopping

Posted: 16/08/2015 at 09:48

I second all that, particularly timing the housekeeping to take account of the end of the season. 

Problem bamboo

Posted: 16/08/2015 at 09:44

You're stuck with dealing with the symptoms, not the problem, and it's always going to be a losing battle with bamboo. If the neighbour responsible isn't approachable, I'd try the local Council. 

Outdoor tomatoes and chillies in and out

Posted: 15/08/2015 at 11:46

EC, the warmer the weather, the quicker they will ripen. Optimum temps are low-20s and above. The lower the temps, the longer they will take. 

Why won't my tomatoes ripen?

Posted: 15/08/2015 at 11:40

Frankly, I wouldn't bother feeding the toms anymore at this stage of the season. Once fruit begins the process of ripening the plant has no real role in the process. Save the fertiliser for next season. 

Why won't my tomatoes ripen?

Posted: 15/08/2015 at 06:48

No, temps down to 3 or 4 won't help ripening. That's crazy for August. I've still got overnight temps in the mid-20s though it looks like the daytime temps - which have been in the high-30s for a couple of months - will settle down into the high-20s. This year has been a return to Italian summers of old, last year's was very mild.

I think toms tend to be overwatered everywhere. And over-fertilised too. Pampered, basically. Toms are incredibly sturdy plants that respond best when left to their own devices. Mine, in the ground, are never fertilised more than twice in their lives. Once, a couple of weeks after planting out; once more later in the season.

In fact, this year, they haven't been fertilised at all because I've been busy with other things. The crop has been slightly down but only because the temps up on my terraces, surrounded by dry stone walls, have probably been in the mid-40s. For June and July, when a lot of fruit would usually be setting, it was simply too hot. The flowers were frazzled in the heat before they could do their thing. I took cuttings in anticipation of the heat and planted them out about a fortnight ago. They're growing full steam ahead, plenty of flowers developing, so I should have a decent second crop into autumn.

Your watering regime sounds okay, certainly a lot better than daily watering which is all too common, particularly in milder weather. Deep, infrequent watering sends the roots deeper into the soil. They're likely a bit deeper than the top foot of soil so they're probably happier than you think they are. 

They sound like they're happy, though. All you need is some warmth!


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