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Latest posts by Italophile

Tomato rot?

Posted: 21/09/2012 at 12:53

Mmmmm. If it were one of the common fungal or bacterial diseases there would be symptoms elsewhere. It looks a wee bit like Late Blight -

- but it can't be with no other symptoms. And if it were Late Blight it would have demolished the plants within your two or three week time frame.

Any chance of it being fertiliser burn?

Nice toms, though, and I like your gap between the lowest foliage and the soil. Good housekeeping!

Tomato Ripening

Posted: 21/09/2012 at 11:14

Brandywine is one of the great toms, Maud. You couldn't have chosen better. Plus anything you sow, grow, nurture and harvest yourself always tastes better!

Tomato Ripening

Posted: 21/09/2012 at 10:51

The theory is that the banana exudes ethylene gas, a substance that hastens the ripening process. Toms actually produce their own. I tried it once, just for fun, and found it made no difference at all. Ripening is down to warmth. Optimum temps are anything above low-20sC.

Enjoy the Brandywines!

Chillies problem

Posted: 21/09/2012 at 10:45

The final colour depends on the variety, dino. Most start out green with red probably the most common end result but you can also have green, yellow, brown, whatever.

One test for maturity is the stem connection between the fruit and the plant. As the fruit nears maturity, the stem connection dries out and weakens. The fruit will come away with barely a tug. You can also feel the fruit itself. If it's hard, it's not ready. If there's some give, and you can feel some space inside - where the seeds are - it's pretty ready.

Tomato rot?

Posted: 21/09/2012 at 09:38

James, are there absolutely no signs of disease on the foliage or stems/branches?

Freezing veg

Posted: 21/09/2012 at 08:13
smada_1 wrote (see)
How do you freeze veg?

As Welshonion says, the methods vary, but just about always involve blanching in boiling water. Vegies contain enzymes that aid their maturing process. Freezing alone doesn't deactivate the enzymes and frozen raw vegies will continue to mature and (eventually) deteriorate even if at a slower rate. Blanching in boiling water effectively stuns the enzymes into inactivity meaning the veg should be - as it were - frozen in time.

After blanching, the veg has to be plunged into iced water to chill them, to stop them cooking. Then it's a matter of drying them completely, bagging them - removing as much air from the bag as you can - and freezing them, ideally as rapidly as possible.

The professionals work on an industrial scale with instant blanching, instant chilling, instant drying and snap-freezing. Home freezing doesn't produce the same results but I do it quite a lot with a more than satisfactory outcome.


Tomato Ripening

Posted: 20/09/2012 at 11:00

Fair enough. Anything is worth a try in poor summers. I'd still think about some sort of portable insulation in those conditions. Those plastic greenhouses can lose warmth overnight in cool conditions and toms actually do most of their growing overnight.


Tomato Ripening

Posted: 20/09/2012 at 08:07

Temperature is the key to ripening tomatoes. They don't need direct sunlight. That's why they will ripen inside on a kitchen bench. Optimum temperature is anything above low-20sC. The lower the temp, the longer ripening will take.

Victor - if you're asking in terms of ripening your toms, see above. Reflected light won't help the ripening process. To retain warmth when the weather cools down you'd be better off insulating the greenhouse somehow.



Posted: 20/09/2012 at 07:55

Aubergines are like tomatoes, chillies, etc, in that technically they are perennials but are grown as annuals. Mainly because, in cooler climates, winter kills them off. A cold frame wouldn't keep them warm enough. You'd need at least a heated greenhouse. I know people who have overwintered them but in a warm climate. The results were mixed.

When to plant out rhubarb?

Posted: 19/09/2012 at 09:58

Okay. Bear in mind that, grown from seed, they're usually a year behind planted crowns.

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