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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 16/08/2012 at 20:54

Blossom End Rot is the result of the plant being unable to distribute sufficient calcium to the fruit via its internal system. There can be plenty of calcium available to the roots, the plant just can't distribute it. It's thought to be caused by plant stress.

What causes the stress to the plant? It can be  fluctuating temps, strong winds, irregular watering patterns, overwatering, overfertilising - in fact, anything that upsets the plant's internal equilibrium can cause it. Sometimes there's just no knowing. I've had a plant with BER planted right alongside another plant with no BER. Same soil, exactly the same weather and growing conditions.

The further complication is that some varieties - the plums, like Roma and San Marzano - are simply more prone to BER. No one knows why beyond that they seem to be genetically predisposed to it.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 15:05

Just what the place needed, an injection of Welsh genes.

What exactly does a 'sterile' plant mean ?

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 11:18

Yes, proprietary plants - created, owned and effectively patented by commercial organisations - usually have sterile seeds to prevent regrowing. Years ago Brocollini - like a miniature brocolli with thin stems and leaves - was introduced into Australia. Its production was licensed to an Australian company by its American commercial "owner" so they were the only source in Australia. You could be prosecuted for even trying to reproduce it.


Posted: 15/08/2012 at 11:03

Good to hear. Is the beefsteak smooth or ribbed?

Rubard just won't die back...

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 09:57

We could do with some cool, wet weather here, GM. Hasn't rained in Tuscany for five months and we're into our second month in the mid-30s. I've had to yank three or four tom plants early because they're not even flowering. Just a waste of precious water. Every local with a vegie garden that I speak to is having their worst season in memory.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 09:53

Funny place, Tasmania. Progressive in some ways - it was the birthplace of the Greens in Australia and remains to the forefront in terms of conservation, etc - but certain parts of the island are best avoided. Very small, isolated communities without much in the way of, um, genetic input from outside. If you get my drift.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 08:54

Tasmania? *shudders*


Posted: 15/08/2012 at 08:33

Some varieties will produce two main stems. It's called bifurcation. The Cherokee varieties - Chocolate, Purple and Green - always do it.

No, it's not too late to take off the overgrown side shoots. Use very sharp secateurs or scissors and make the cut as clean as you can.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 08:22

If you can grow the Suttons' version of Marmande you could grow the original Rouge de Marmande. The difficulty would be finding the genuine seeds.


Posted: 15/08/2012 at 07:30

The Sungolds are on their way to ripening anyway. They're well into transition from very dark green. I'd take them off the plant and ripen them inside in a warm spot. Which won't be a bad thing anyway because Sungold, ripening on the plant, are notorious for splitting at maturity. They're always best picked a little early.

Tomato flowers die off if they're not pollinated. They're of no further use to the plant. I'm glad to see you've got the real Black Russian. There's another variety called Russian Black, a small round fruit, and the naming similarity causes confusion, especially amongst plant sellers and seed companies. People often end up with the wrong tomato.

Have you tried a "Black" before? All of the "Black" varieties - Black Russian, Black Krim, Black from Tula, etc - have an interesting flavour. Sharpish on first bite, slightly sweet aftertaste. They all originate from around the Crimea and both taste and look remarkably the same. In fact, some tom experts believe that a lot of renaming took place when the "Blacks" became fashionable decades ago, that a lot of the supposed different varieties are the same tom with different names.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of the taste.


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