London (change)
Today 16°C / 13°C
Tomorrow 14°C / 8°C


Latest posts by Italophile

Carrot bed

Posted: 10/08/2012 at 08:15

All you can do is make sure the soil is extremely friable down to about 12" (depending on the variety you're growing) with no lumps or other impediments for the carrots to run into. Fresh manure or fertiliser is a no-no, too, though it doesn't sound like that's your problem. Plenty of sun and warmth helps too.

What variety are you growing? I very highly recommend Amsterdam Forcing. They're early, very reliable, beautifully sweet, and harvested at roughly 4-6 inches, so you can get away with a shallower bed.


Posted: 10/08/2012 at 07:57

We love celeriac, too, but eventually gave up on it here in central Italy. They need warmth but it's just too hot for them here in summer regardless of how much water I poured on them. In my experience, a lack of root (bulb) development is usually a sign of a lack of nutrients. They're pretty heavy feeders, they love a nice, rich soil, and some fertiliser along the way. Insufficient warmth can also be a factor.


Posted: 10/08/2012 at 06:57

Or you can leave one to develop, snip it off with sharp secateurs or scissors, poke it into a small pot of damp potting mix, keep it in warm shade as you would any cutting, and you'll have a brand new plant without the hassle of starting seed and waiting. It's how I generate my autumn crops.

Fig trees

Posted: 10/08/2012 at 06:52

Looks line a nice plant, Chris. If you plan to keep it in a container, I'd pot it up into something like a 30cm container for a year or two. It's already looking rangy too. Figs in containers are better off wide rather than tall so you need to encourage side growth. In winter, when it's dormant, I'd take off at least the top third and probably more.

What are your plans for it?


Posted: 09/08/2012 at 13:20

When I last looked into it - back in Sydney - the only suggestions involved things like spraying the concentrated wee of predatory animals. The squirrels were supposed to detect the smell, fear for their lives, and flee. I never found out how you obtained such a thing.

The cages I built were very simple affairs. Three or four stakes in the ground, wrapped in sturdy chicken wire, capped with some more chicken wire. You just have to allow yourself access to the plants.

I think, though, that you're only in trouble if the squirrels actually discover the fruit. Wait and see.




Posted: 09/08/2012 at 11:59

If they try a tomato, they'll more than likely enjoy your crop before you get a chance to. I used to have the problem when I lived in Sydney. If it becomes a problem, the simplest solution is to protect the plants with squirrel-proof cages.


Posted: 09/08/2012 at 06:55

Or, in my case, the other extreme of a month and a half of baking 35C+ temps and not a drop of rain. Even with regular watering, the beetroot (in terms of size) has been a mixture of golf balls, tennis balls, with a couple of oversized oranges.

disappointing peppers

Posted: 09/08/2012 at 06:51

As a general rule it's better to pinch off any young fruit on a seedling before planting out. It lets the plant put all its energy into developing itself. But if it's later in the season, when the plant probably won't get to full maturity, no harm in leaving the fruit there for a head start.

disappointing peppers

Posted: 08/08/2012 at 16:26

No problems, greenmaid. BER is one of the most frustrating conditions with toms and peppers. Some varieties of toms - the plum varieties, like Roma and San Marzano - are much more prone to it. No one knows why.

I'd suggest, though, that weekly feeeding is too much anyway. Neither toms nor peppers are hungry plants. They will always produce more if they're left to struggle a little. Tough love or controlled neglect is the go.

Weeds and compost!

Posted: 08/08/2012 at 16:21

The problem with home composts is that they don't generate sufficient heat within to kill off the pesky seeds. In fact all my weeds go into black plastic bags (inside second, heavy-duty black plastic bags), tied up tightly and stacked out of sight on my top terrace garden. In the full sun of an Italian summer, the heat generated inside is enormous, killing off any living thing. By the next spring, I have bags of - effectively - mulch. Comes in very handy.

Discussions started by Italophile

Italophile has not started any discussions