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Latest posts by Italophile

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 09:03

Leggi, if the stems are quickly turning black it sounds like it could be Late Blight. If so, there's no saving the plant.

In general, spraying once any fungal disease symptoms are already present is a waste of time and money. It's too late. Spraying has to be preventive, meaning you spray before the spores arrive, starting a couple of weeks after planting out, then weekly or so afterwards, respraying if it rains.

Spraying doesn't guarantee you won't get fungal disease but it gives you a solid defence.

Dove - good luck!

Talkback: How to grow salad leaves from seed

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 08:54

I would like to know how to pinch the tops out of the tomatoe plants and when to do it.


Janet, you only need to pinch out the tops of tomatoes (a) if you want to limit the plant's height in restricted growing space (eg, a greenhouse); and (b) later in the season when any new flowers won't have time to produce fruit.

To pinch out the tops - identify the plant's leaders, the main vertical stems that are producing branches and flowers, and cut off the top inch or so.

Talkback: How to grow salad leaves from seed

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 08:48

is there any kind of POT that you should NOT use to grow herbs and veg in ?
Thanks Helen

Helen, a pot really just needs to be big enough to do the job you're asking of it and with adequate drainage. As to types of pots - smaller pots will dry out quicker than larger ones, plastic pots will dry out quicker than ceramic or terracotta.

Talkback: How to grow salad leaves from seed

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 08:36

I have looked at the guides on greenhouse tomatoes and they are very useful. I have grown three sorts of tomatoes Moneymaker (normal size), Legend (beefsteak) and cherry tomato too. Are they all treated the same in the greenhouse re removal of axilliary shoots, number of trusses and so on? Does one size fit all?

The quote function seems not to be working. Valerie, the basic mechanics of tomato growing are the same regardless of variety.

Talkback: How to grow salad leaves from seed

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 08:32

I try to when I stumble over these old threads.



Posted: 11/08/2012 at 07:24

Or, for delicious flavour, you can wrap them in foil with a bunch of herbs and bake at 180C for about 45 minutes for smaller beetroot, maybe an hour and a bit for bigger ones. Test them with a fine skewer. When the skewer slides easily into them, they're cooked. Let them cool till you can handle them. The skins will rub off easily with your fingers. Slice them, dress with good EVOO and a splash of good vinegar and some P&S.

Don't forget, too, that the leaves and stems make a delicious salad. Blanch the stems for about 30 seconds, add the leaves for another 30 seconds, drain and dry very well. Dress with good EVOO, good vinegar and some P&S.


Posted: 10/08/2012 at 17:32

A huge Italian tom? What shape? Oxheart? Beefsteak?

Fig trees

Posted: 10/08/2012 at 16:41

Chris, re planting in the ground. I don't know how big your garden is but figs don't need to take up as much space as Lily's. Just as they thrive with contained roots in containers, the same applies when they're in the ground. You effectively plant them in a box to contain the roots. Dig a hole about 3' x 3' and 2' deep. Line the sides vertically with something like pavers or even bricks with their tops just above soil level. Spread clean gravel or stones in the bottom of the box. Plant the fig with plenty of good soil. It's how I planted my fig in the garden. Left to their own devices, figs in the ground can and will grow into monsters. Mine will never top about 10' and I control the width. It thrives.

Just another option to consider.

Fig trees

Posted: 10/08/2012 at 16:03

Chris, you prune when dormant, but if you leave it till late winter/very early spring you should score a couple more trees out of the pruning. Take roughly 6" cuttings from the tips of the branches that come off. Poke them into damp potting mix in small pots, keep them nice and warm - inside plastic bags would help - and keep an eye on them. As soon as you see the beginnings of green growth on the cuttings you'll know they've taken. Pot them up the following autumn. Fig cuttings root very easily. My fig in its container and one I planted in the garden both came from cuttings taken in very early spring.


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.

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