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Latest posts by Italophile

Saving tom seeds...

Posted: 11/10/2012 at 15:39

Greenhouses offer no protection against fungal diseases. In fact, even with ventilation the relatively closed environment can be an incubator. There are also fungal diseases specific to greenhouses, rarely if ever seen outdoors. There's really no avoiding fungal problems. The spores are airborne, they're everywhere in the air, and all you can do is try to minimise their impact by either preventive spraying or judicious housekeeping.

Blight-resistant varieties are a bit of a misnomer. They've become popular marketing devices. Unless you're hit with the destructive Late Blight, most of the everyday fungal problems don't destroy tomato plants. Providing you take some care - removing affected foliage as soon as infection appears, etc - a plant will usually live a normal productive life.

Saving tom seeds...

Posted: 11/10/2012 at 11:48

Why not try some pure (heirloom) varieties? The good ones taste better than most hybrids because the first thing to suffer in the hybridising process is flavour. Understandable because you're mixing two - and often more - different gene pools.

All tom varieties will grow both outdoors and in greenhouses. Greenhouses only come into play for climate reasons. Toms need as much warmth - and sunlight - as they can get and greenhouses are sometimes the only way to achieve and maintain the necessary warmth.

How long is your growing season? By which I mean, what are your best summer temps and how long do they last?

Saving tom seeds...

Posted: 11/10/2012 at 10:45

There probably won't be a discernible difference in taste in the first generation. As to the variations, it depends how many varieties were involved in the original hybridising and what they were. Similar varieties, hybridised, won't throw huge differences when de-hybridised. There can be anything from two to half a dozen varieties used when hybridising. Obviously, the more the varieties, the larger the gene pool that will eventually unravel.

I know a few growers - with too much time on their hands - who love to try to dehybridise hybrids to try to determine the original parents. They spend years at it.

Saving tom seeds...

Posted: 11/10/2012 at 10:05

Ferline is a hybrid variety. Saved seeds won't produce fruit 100% true to the parent. The first generation will produce similar fruit, subsequent generations from saved seeds will produce more variations of the varieties used in the hybridising as the gene pool starts to unravel. To produce fruit 100% true to the parent plant you need to save seeds from pure (heirloom) varieties.

Saving tom seeds...

Posted: 10/10/2012 at 07:12

Good going, Zoomer. A guaranteed way for the seeds not to stick when they're drying is to use unbleached cone coffee filters. I use the Melitta brand. They absorb the moisture in a flash and don't cling onto the seeds.

citrus plants

Posted: 09/10/2012 at 16:29

Very interesting. Citrus usually need a relatively high nitrogen component, much more than tomatoes.


Posted: 09/10/2012 at 16:26
nodlisab wrote (see)

I have ripened mine in a propagator, a lot of people on hear said it couldnt be done. I put them on a rack so they were not in contact with the base and they have all ripened nicely.

A propagator would provide all the warmth the toms need to ripen. You only need to be careful of the temperatures and the chances of "cooking" the toms. Keeping the toms off the base was a very good idea to avoid bruising.

ripening tomatoes

Posted: 09/10/2012 at 09:11

It's temperature that ripens the fruit naturally. Ripening is a matter of breaking down the chlorophyll in the fruit - that which gives the fruit its green colour - and letting the pigments develop. Once the ripening process is under way, the fruit is getting next to nothing from the actual plant.

Talkback: How to grow basil from seed

Posted: 09/10/2012 at 08:58

You can take cuttings from the thyme and rosemary but only if you want more plants. They're usually long-living and will - or should - survive winter. Ditto oregano and mint.

Chives should also survive with some protection. You can multiply the number of chive plants by dividing the roots.

Coriander should also survive with some protection. Coriander plants have finite lives. You should divide the plants every couple of years to ensure ongoing supplies.

Basil is best grown fresh from seed. Parsley can survive into a second season but I find that it lacks flavour and bolts quickly. I grow new plants every season.


Posted: 08/10/2012 at 16:14

Optimum temp for ripening is anything above low-20s and direct sunlight isn't required. The lower the temp, the longer it will take. If it's warmer indoors than outdoors, even in a greenhouse, especially overnight, they'll ripen quicker indoors.

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