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Italophile


Latest posts by Italophile

Tomato leaf problems - help

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 12:03

Becks, I'm back from a couple of days down in Umbria, I could only access this forum on the stupid little iPod.

I don't know either variety but hunting around the internet seems to indicate they both have large-ish, regular leaves. So leaf size isn't going to help. You'll know the difference as soon as the flowers start to develop, though.

Alicante looks like its clusters are in clumps of up to half a dozen flowers, but pretty much bunched together. Cerise Cherry, on the other hand, looks like its flowers develop in long strings of ten or twelve or more. Quite a traditional cherry tomato flower pattern. So very different cluster patterns that you will tell apart immediately.

I was down in Umbria helping a friend deal with her tomatoes. I helped her set up the garden and I sow seeds for her, giving her the seedlings. I took some photos of flower clusters for you. Now these won't resemble yours in terms of the pattern in which they develop because hers are mainly beefsteak and medium-sized oblate varieties, but at least they will give you an idea:

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/10371.jpg?width=350

 

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/10370.jpg?width=350

EDIT. Having had another look at Alicante and Cerise Cherry on the internet, I would bet a very small amount of money that the CC's leaves are a bit larger than Alicante's.

 

Tomato leaf problems - help

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 12:54
Becks, it's just about impossible to tell varieties apart at this stage unless you have different leaf types involved - eg, a potato-leaf variety. It's a case of wait and see. Still, a valuable reminder! Always label! I also make it a practice to trim my nails before sowing different varieties. You'd be amazed how a seed can get caught under a nail and end up in the next lot of mix with very puzzling results a few months later.

A truss is just a cluster of flowers, miniscule when they first appear. You'll know one when you see one. Most cherry varieties have clusters of around half a dozen flowers either in a clump or a line. Some non-cherry varieties produce flow
ers singly.

tomatoes

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 19:50

Yes, you can use Dithane. It contains Mancozeb, one of the less pleasant chemicals around. It will wipe out foraging insects, but then, for that matter, so will copper sulfate, one of the ingredients in BM. By the by, I'm bemused by the decision to withdraw BM. There are many nastier products around.

Wiping out foraging insects is one of the unfortunate downsides of spraying. As I've posted here before, about the only anti-fungal spray that doesn't impact on foraging insects is one using chlorothalonil as its base ingredient. It's a synthetic, but is harmless to the insects. Unfortunately it's very hard to get in quantities for domestic use outside the US.

Talkback: Swifts

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 17:26

They're disappearing for the year around here in central Italy. On the early side, but they left early last year, too. Up till a couple of days ago you felt like you were taking your life in your hands out walking very early in the morning. They were swooping down almost to head height in some of the smaller piazzas.

Fig trees

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 16:01
Chris9 wrote (see)

Thanks for the positive response I can't wait to get one now. 

Italophile, a friend has moved to Italy and lives down south and was pleased with his fig tree so I want to surprise them when they visit with an English fig, yes a bit of competition

Obelxx, I did see Turkey Brown on one of the seed website so will aim for that tree and thanks for the planting info.

It is great to have some many experts who can answer these questions and give such good advice.  Thank to you both and have a good weekend. regards Chris

You see figs everywhere here, Chris. Down the road from us there's even one huge green fig tree growing out of a wall! It's always the first fig in the town to fruit and produces a ton of fruit.

The only secrets to growing in containers is to (a) give them a good feed with a balanced fertiliser - I usually use a 10:10:10 combination - in spring; (b) keep them well watered in summer but with very good drainage, obviously; and (c) don't start out with the container too big. Figs thrive in terms of production if their roots are contained, cramped even. Mine started life in about a 25cm pot and I potted it up a couple of years ago into a 40cm container. It's over 6' and as wide as it is tall.

It will stay in this container for a very long time. The root system can get too compacted, though. Every couple of years, early in spring, I lift it out and use a handsaw (yes, literally) to cut three or four wedges out of the mass of roots. Like taking wedged slices out of a pie, except it's like cutting into solid timber. This both reduces the root mass and rejuvenates it. I fill in the newly created space in the container with potting mix. You'd think the tree would turn up its toes in protest. No way. It gallops on.

Fig trees

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 12:31

I have a fig in a pot on the terrace in central Italy. Like obelixx, we get pretty brutal winters, though not as cold as -25. We have a covered pergola on the terrace and it goes under the pergola, against a protected wall, the container wrapped in two or three layers of bubble wrap. I wrap the tree itself in a couple of layers of heavy-duty fleece. It spends about two and a half months like this and I monitor the moisture level in the container. It averages one or two waterings with tepid/warm water during this period, and, with the container's excellent drainage, it never gets wet feet. Its now five or six years old and produces an extraordinary amount of fruit for its size.

Its sister plant - both grown from cuttings from the same tree - lives in the ground in the garden in a completely exposed position. I don't protect it in any way. It takes everything winter can throw at it and always bounces back in spring.

tomatoes

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 10:48
paull2 wrote (see)

Talking of hybrids. Several years ago I was growing a mini-plum variety called Rosada in the GH and someone gave me a couple of yellow plants, probably Golden Sunrise or the like (medium fruit but average flavour), which I remember did not do very well. I kept a couple of Rosada toms for sowing the following year, and when they fruited, they came out as yellow mini-plum, very sweet and a prolific cropper, very dark leaves, which I have continued to grow every year since. Modesty forbids that I should name the variety anything other than 'those yellow things'.

You got a cross. It's always fun to see what you end up with. Do you get identical fruit every season?

tomatoes

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 10:45

Dipadee - first, load the photo from your camera to your computer, taking note of where you store it in the computer.

Post here. When you want to insert the photo into the post, click your cursor where you want to insert it. Then click on the symbol third from the right in the menu at the top of the window in which you're writing. It looks like a little green tree.

A new window opens. At the top, you can select whether you're uploading from your computer or an external side. Your computer is the default option so leave it as is. Click on Select. Then navigate to where you stored the photo on your computer and select the photo.

Click Upload.

Then click Save.

The photo should appear within your post where you indicated with the cursor.

tomatoes

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 10:00

Is it too late to take a photo of the symptoms, Dipadee?

As I've posted before, it's impossible to avoid fungal spores, the pesky little things that cause these problems. They're invisible, they travel in the air, and they are everywhere.

Preventive spraying is probably the best means of preventing infection. The spray coats the leaves, creating a barrier between the fungal spores and the leaf surface, preventing the spores getting a grip and doing their damage.

Traditionally, the most common spray has been copper sulfate-based and you'll find it under various brand names in any garden centre. Technically it's organic because copper is a naturally-occurring substance. On the other hand, it's a metal, and some growers worry about a build-up of metal in the soil when the sprays drips to the ground.

Spraying is preventive, meaning it has to be undertaken before the spores arrive. It's no use spraying after the spores have arrived - that is, once fungal (or bacterial) symptoms are showing. Usually you start spraying a couple of weeks after planting out and continue to spray every week or 10 days. If it rains within that timeframe, you have to respray to recoat the leaves. Importantly, you have to spray every leaf, and both sides of every leaf.

Preventive spraying doesn't guarantee 100% that you will be fungus (or bacteria) free, but it gives you a huge head start. The only alternative to spraying is very diligent housekeeping - at least 3' between plants to aid air circulation, judicious pruning of branches and leaves to avoid great clumps of leaves which hinder air circulation, and keeping the foliage as dry as possible. Damp foliage is a fungal spore's playground. Finally, removing the lowest branches to keep a gap of at least 1' between the lowest foliage and the soil will help against the spores - that fall from the leaves to the soil - splashing back up onto the leaves when watering.

tomatoes

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 07:06

Potato Blight is the same disease as Late Blight in tomatoes. The pathogen is Phytophthora infestans. In toms, it certainly manifests on the stems, but also on the leaves. That is wasn't showing on the leaves still puzzles me.

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