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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 09/08/2015 at 09:24

Sounds like the plants were mislabelled. Very common. Are the rogue toms all essentially the same? If not, could be crossed seeds involved.


Posted: 09/08/2015 at 09:20

I take off all the flower heads after they finish blooming. Only the flower heads. Wait till spring, when new growth starts, to prune more heavily. (As above, not cutting into the old wood) Keeps the plant compact, limits the build up of old woody stems. 

Tomato problems

Posted: 09/08/2015 at 09:13

Can you post a photo? BER affects the bottom (blossom) end of the tom and doesn't spread, per se.


Potato blight fungicide

Posted: 09/08/2015 at 09:12

Is Mancozeb still allowed?


Posted: 08/08/2015 at 07:02

Aubergines are self-pollinating, same as the toms. It does sound like a pollination problem even if the toms aren't suffering the same problem. Try giving the newer aubergine flowers a flick with your fingers to kick start the process.

Aubergines also like a bit of humidity. A problem when you're growing them in a greenhouse with toms, for which humidity is a recipe for fungal problems.

Is this tomato blight?

Posted: 08/08/2015 at 06:13

People tend to overreact when they see fungal disease on their toms. As I say, unless it's something like Late Blight, basic manintenance will see the plant through to the end of the season. 

Get the baliffs in for the non-water voles!

Tomatoes why does thou not begin to ripen..eth?

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 09:05

Anything above low-20s is optimum for ripening. It's the temperature that's key, not direct sunlight. They will ripen in full shade if the temp is right. In good ripening weather, you're looking at roughly 4 weeks to ripe from the time the tom starts to change from dark green to a lighter green.

Temps into the 30s are fine, though you risk plant stress, particularly in an enclosed environment. I've got temps into the 40s up on my terraces, ripening is pretty rapid, and the open-air environment helps with the stress problem. The downside is that flowers rarely set fruit at that temperature so I'm getting fruit that set before the heat hit. It's a little cooler overnight now so fruit is starting to set again.

coffee grinds

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 08:53

I toss them onto the compost heap. Used grounds are pretty much neutral after brewing, losing most of their acidity in the process. 

Tomato Black Russian?

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 08:48

If you can grow one tom, you can grow them all!  I'm not a huge fan of the "black" varieties anyway. They have flavour but a bit thin and "metallic" for my taste. 

Anyone looking for a very reliable producer with excellent, complex flavour should try Cherokee Purple. Medium-sized tom, the plant doesn't take up a large amount of space, dead easy to grow. 

Tomato Black Russian?

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 06:18

Some varieties are prone to splitting, particularly concentrically - around the shoulders rather than vertically. Vertical (radial) splitting like yours is more often than not a moisture issue, often the result of a burst of moisture the plant - well, the fruit - wasn't expecting. Sudden heavy rain when the fruit is virtually ripe can cause it. The tomato's skin doesn't have the capacity to expand quickly enough.

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