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Latest posts by Italophile


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.



Posted: 14/08/2012 at 20:19

The second question is the one that shouldn't bother you. The blemish on the bottom of the fruit is called "cat facing". It's very common and has no impact at all on the fruit or its flavour. At worst you'll get some tough tissue around the edges of the blemish when you come to eat the tomato. Just slice it out. "Cat facing" has its source at pollination, usually as a result of low or fluctuating temperatures.

As to the first question, it does look like a stem rot. There are a couple of versions of it, the one I'm familiar with is a bacterial problem. I fear the plant is cactus, so to speak. Out of interest, when you pull the plant, have a close look at the roots and post a photo.

On the bright side, better the serious problem with the Sungold than the Black Russian. The BR is a much nicer tomato, IMHO.

What's wrong with these tomatoes?

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 11:11

Well, if the problem is isolated to that one container, and it has a different mix to the others, you might have most of the answer. Have you tried one of the affected toms?

Fruit trees

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 08:46

Yes, they're self-pollinating varieties, though even self-pollinators will benefit from a compatible friend nearby. Regardless, some apples can take four or five years to produce fruit. Our pear - not a Conference, a Coscia - took five years. It could be a case of immaturity. What have you fed them with?


What's wrong with these tomatoes?

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 07:42

Yep. Google and tomato problems can be a misleading partnership.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 07:40

Fair 'nuff. Which Marmandes are you growing? The modern Marmande isn't, unfortunately, much of a patch on the original French heirloom. Somewhere along the way I think some tweaking might have happened. The old Rouge de Marmande was a glorious tom.

What's wrong with these tomatoes?

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 07:08

It's not Speck, one of the bacterial diseases. Speck manifests as individual spots, sometimes raised, sometimes pitted. The fact is that the foliage couldn't look healthier and it's rare indeed for any disease to manifest on the fruit alone. I suspect the problem is physiological, possibly a reaction to something along the lines of what Welshonion mentioned.

Don't yank them. The simple test is to pick one of the affected fruit and try it. My hunch is that it will be fine.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 06:46

Maybe you've developed your own strain of LB. Dove Late Blight. DLB. You could be famous.

I think you're minimising things to an extent by removing foliage the second the symptom appears.

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