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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 05/08/2012 at 11:04

Are they "black holes" or sunken black patches at the blossom end? On the bottom of the tomato? If so, it's probably Blossom End Rot. Here's what it typically looks like:

The plum-type varieties like Roma are extremely susceptible to it. No one knows why. I've had Roma plants plagued by BER growing right alongside beefsteak varieties - identical soil, identical watering, etc - that haven't shown the slightest sign of BER.

If that's not what you've got, can you post a photo?

Whether you've got a fungal or bacterial problem, spraying now isn't going to help the already-infected foliage. If you have unaffected foliage, spraying will help against infection. That Bayer product seems to be copper-based, one of the traditional anti-fungal ingredients. Spraying doesn't kill the spores. Effectively you're coating the leaves to put a barrier between the spores and the leaf surface, stopping the spores getting a grip. So you have to spray every leaf and on both sides. Spray about once a week, re-spraying if it rains.

As I said, Romas can present their own challenges, but I wouldn't give up on the plants by any means. They sound like they're in pretty good shape despite the problems and worth fighting for.

Curling tomato foliage

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 09:02

Sounds like a silly question but are the leaves curling up at the edges or down at the edges? The difference usually leads to different diagnoses.


Posted: 03/08/2012 at 10:28

If the problem was fungal, it had nothing to do with infected pots. Some bacterial and viral diseases can be transferred via previously infected soil and pots.

Can you post a photo? It would be interesting to see what the problem actually was.

Fungal disease is the most common ailment in the home tomato garden. You can't avoid fungal spores. They're airborne, invisible to the naked eye, and they're everywhere. Unless you spray preventively, there's nothing much you can do except undertake some basic housekeeping drills to try to minimise their impact.

Avoid wetting any foliage. Damp foliage is heaven for a fungal spore. Still air and clumps of foliage fall into the same category. Try to maximise air circulation by (1) keeping individual plants at least a metre apart, in fact as far apart as your growing space allows; (2) judiciously trimming foliage on individual plants to avoid walls of clumps of leaves; (3) remove the lowest branches of individual plants to maintain a gap of at least a foot between the lowest foilage and the soil. Fungal spores can and will fall from the leaves to the soil underneath and can splash back up again when watering. The gap between the lowest foliage and the soil helps against this.

In fact, you probably have more chance of dealing with disease outdoors than in a greenhouse. You need very very good ventilation to overcome the fact that the closed environment can be an incubator for disease.

Posted: 03/08/2012 at 08:09

I use T&M quite a lot for seeds I can't get here in Italy. The delivery has always been prompt and I've never had a problem with germination.


Posted: 02/08/2012 at 16:12

Beetroot don't always develop at the same rate in my experience. I get big 'uns alongside little 'uns. Are they getting plenty of sun? You could try a nitrogen-based fertiliser but don't overdo it.

Fig trees

Posted: 01/08/2012 at 06:55

Any chance of a photo? Here's our tree. It's roughly the same age as yours, I grew it from a cutting taken in spring 2008:

That's a 40cm container and it's been in it for two years. How big is the container you potted up into this year? Figs do their absolute best in terms of fruit with cramped roots.

Last year I did a major root prune (as I described a bit earlier in the thread). Root pruning seriously stimulates the tree. It could be what your one needs next spring.

Fig trees

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 21:42

Figs in containers need some sort of protection in cold winters. The danger is that the roots can freeze in the container. Did it have any protection?

How is it looking otherwise?

Tomato leaf problems - help

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 17:37

Cats shouldn't be able to knock those buckets over. And birds won't be a problem. We get a zillion pigeons, black birds, birds of all types here, and I've never known them to bother a tomato. I'd leave them at the bottom of the garden in the maximum possible sun. That's what they need.

Tomato leaf problems - help

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 11:49

Fair 'nuff. Just give them as much sun as possible. Move them around the garden to catch the sun if need be.


Tomato leaf problems - help

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 08:33

The two in the last photo (above) look very leggy. For their height, the stems should be better developed. They've struggled for light at some stage or might even still be struggling.

Where is the plant you posted the photos of on the previous page? Still in the small container?


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