Latest posts by Italophile

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.

Tomato Ripening

Posted: 07/10/2012 at 08:40

It's best to keep them separated just to avoid the possibility of bruising so I wouldn't use a bowl. You can put them on racks or a bench or windowsill or whatever. For larger varieties, it's a good idea to stand them upside down - on their shoulders - to minimise the amount of contact between skin and a hard surface.


sweet peppers

Posted: 06/10/2012 at 09:17

Peppers, technically, are perennials, like tomatoes, but mainly grown as annuals. They can survive into a second season if kept warm enough with plenty of light but production drops away as the plant tires. You'd get a better crop from a fresh plant next season.

Just bear in mind that they take longer to germinate than toms and longer to grow to plant-out stage. You need to start seeds very early. Or, alternatively, buy a mature seedling.

Rust and Garlic

Posted: 02/10/2012 at 11:56

It's one of the reasons I gave up on garlic. From what I could deduce at the time, there's no getting rid of it except to remove affected leaves early but that impacts on the end result. There was, at the time, no effective spray, organic or otherwise.

Chilli plants - keep or chuck and start again next year?

Posted: 01/10/2012 at 11:00

You can dry sweet peppers. I use the oven as per oven-dried toms. Remove the seeds and white ribs, cut them into pieces, set the oven to its lowest possible temperature - mine is 50C - put them on a tray and leave them for at least 12 hours. If you can't get your oven temp low enough, leave the door ajar.

Chilli plants - keep or chuck and start again next year?

Posted: 01/10/2012 at 10:32

I discovered something by accident last season. Forgot to harvest some chillies as the cold weather descended. They ended up freeze-dried on the plants. I used them all through the winter.

Chilli plants - keep or chuck and start again next year?

Posted: 01/10/2012 at 06:59

Good advice. Chillies always take longer than toms to get to planting out stage.

Chilli plants - keep or chuck and start again next year?

Posted: 30/09/2012 at 15:28

Technically they're perennials, like toms, but most succumb either to weather or disease. Even if they're kept alive, the production usually drops.

Size of plant depends on variety, June. Your 10-inch plant sounds like a small bush variety. If you want a larger plant from seed, there are plenty around. Check out the seed packets at a garden centre.

Discussions started by Italophile

Italophile has not started any discussions