Latest posts by Italophile

problem soil

Posted: 08/12/2012 at 07:41
annefiona wrote (see)

I have just created new beds for growing fruit and vegetables and the top soil that I hto ordered is extremely alkaline ,what is the best way of improving it.. My existing soil is neutral to alkaline

Presumably you've tested both the existing soil and the new stuff? What figures did you get?

storing carrots and parsnips

Posted: 05/12/2012 at 09:05

Like Bob, I leave parsnips in the ground. They're all the sweeter after a freeze. Ditto his thoughts on carrots.


Talkback: How to plant a fig tree

Posted: 26/11/2012 at 09:10
Pretzel wrote (see)
All his advice is great, as always, but the video concentrated more on him and the fruit on the tree than on the PLANTING HOLE which is what I'm interested in (how to PLANT a fig tree). More shots and info, please, on the HOLE - depth, width and so forth. From the very quick glimpses we got, it seemed very small - ? With the paving stones sticking up higher than the surrounding ground - ? And he said the hole was lined with paving stones; we could see four around the edges but was there one at the bottom as well (or just the rubble) ?

A hole about a metre by a metre a metre will do the job. As Dove says, spread the rubble on top of the soil in the bottom of the hole. It will help to contain the roots, the whole point of the exercise. Mine, planted about three years ago, is about 8' high and won't get much taller. Now it's a matter of encouraging lateral growth.


Posted: 18/11/2012 at 08:42
tropicalboy wrote (see)

Hi All,

Has anybody any solutions as to how to control/prevent mildew on my grapevine. This year the crop was ruined because mildew attacked bothe the leaves and the grapes themselves. I tried various available chemicals but nothing worked.

Many Thanks


Which mildew did you have? Powdery or Downy?

Tomato growing tips

Posted: 17/11/2012 at 17:19

My local greengrocer grows a lot of his own - including some of my varieties now, too - but a lot of his stock are the dreaded hydroponic stuff. Incredible.

Protecting broad beans?

Posted: 17/11/2012 at 07:56
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

I sow Broad Bean Aquadulce Claudia in November and just leave them be - they always survive (she says with her fingers crossed )

That's what I grew. Snap! I've got some in now. They're indestructible.


Tomato growing tips

Posted: 16/11/2012 at 18:22

I get fungal problems here in Central Italy, cathy, though vastly less than I used to get back in humid old Sydney. It gets mighty hot here but it's mainly dry heat.

Protecting broad beans?

Posted: 16/11/2012 at 10:50

Yes, -17C would hurt them. It would hurt most things! It doesn't get below about -2C here - except for wind-chill - and mine survived. They're surprisingly hardy things. Good idea about the fleece in the cupboard.


Protecting broad beans?

Posted: 16/11/2012 at 08:54

The last time I grew a crop over winter here in central Italy I just left them to cope. It snowed, the snow eventually melted, and there they still were. I got a nice crop. Just my experience.

Tomato growing tips

Posted: 15/11/2012 at 11:18

Sorry, Catherine, I didn't see any specific reference to Late Blight in terms of your article. It just says "tomato blight".

Anyway, Late Blight is no different to any of the other fungal diseases in the way it is transmitted. It's just a different pathogen. The only difference is the ugliness of the outcome. So, in terms of prevention or minimisation of the effects, anything relevant to fungal diseases in general relates to Late Blight.

Well, let me clarify that. The traditional preventive sprays - copper-based - can be effective against the common fungal infections but much less so against Late Blight. The other fundamental difference, of course, is Late Blight's destructive properties. It can destroy a plant within a week so there's usually little that can be done to save the plant once infected. Dove [posting above] had all the classic symptoms of Late Blight but managed to save her plants. A triumph of tomato care!

I'm sorry but the RHS is promolgating a furphy. Toms in greenhouses are not less likely to suffer Late Blight. If the pathogen is around, the plants - outdoors or in a greenhouse - can be affected, and the greenhouse incubator effects I mentioned earlier can and will come into play. I'm sure Monty Don isn't the only one who will question the RHS' advice.

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