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Latest posts by Italophile

Big Green Caterpillar

Posted: 06/09/2012 at 17:05

Is this the critter you're looking at, jancee?

That's a hornworm. They actually do eat foliage but the big damage they do is to the fruit:

You were lucky you found him before he pulled out his knife and fork, uncorked a Caterpillar Merlot, tucked his serviette into his collar, and tucked in.

Sweet corn

Posted: 06/09/2012 at 16:14

Not all sweetcorn turns the typical yellow. Try squeezing one of the kernels with a fingernail. If the liquid inside is a milky colour, it's harvest time. If it's still watery, you're going to have to wait and hope for more warmth.

Big Green Caterpillar

Posted: 06/09/2012 at 15:37

Sounds like a tomato hornworm. They're everywhere. I used to get them in Australia.

Tomato Ripening

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 17:44

Yes, it's down to temperature. They don't need direct sunlight to ripen. It's why toms will ripen inside on a kitchen bench.

Tomato Ripening

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 17:15

Temperature is what ripens toms, flowergirl. If it's warmer outside than in the shed, they will ripen quicker outside. If the converse is true, the converse applies. Hanging up the plant is really only a means of storing the toms. Out of the ground, the plant will die off within three or four days anyway so there will be no ongoing nutritional benefit.

EDIT. If it's not warm enough outside - and you need at least low-20sC for ripening at an optimum rate - put them anywhere where you'll achieve as close to those temps as you can. In a shed, in the kitchen, bathroom, boiler room, wherever.

Talkback: How to ripen tomatoes on the vine

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 17:09
I can't see it and I'm on Firefox.

tomato blight in greenhouse

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 15:57

The ventilation is the key. As to removing the plants completely, it depends on which pathogen has struck.

If it's Late Blight, definitely get rid of the plant ASAP. If it's a more common and less destructive pathogen like Early Blight, Septoria Leaf Spot, or even Leaf Mould, one of the very common problems in greenhouses and just about unique to greenhouse toms, you can keep it in check by removing and destroying affected foliage as soon as it appears. These diseases don't ravage plants to anything like the extent that Late Blight will. In fact, with care, most plants will live a normal, productive life.

Tomato Ripening

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 15:50

To be honest, I'm not convinced of the banana routine. I tried it a few years ago as an experiment. Two toms, same variety, same degree of ripeness. One in a bag with a banana, the other one au naturel. There was little difference in the outcome.

But if the banana were to be tried, it needs to be in the confines of something like a bag with the tomato in order to maximise the effect of any ethlyene gas. Otherwise it just wafts into the atmosphere.

tomato blight in greenhouse

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 11:36
Jen 2 wrote (see)

I have had tomato blight in the greenhouse for the last 2 years.

Can you tell me if and what treatment i should use to avoid it happening again

Unless you want to spray preventively against fungal problems, all you can do is basic housekeeping. As WD says above, ventilation is a fundamental. More the better. Air circulation is a big help against the fungal spores settling on foliage. I've known people to keep an electric fan set on low to keep the air moving.

Beyond that, keep as much space between tom plants as possible - at least 3' hopefully - and try to avoid great wads of foliage developing on plants by judicious removal of branches and leaves. The thicker the foliage, the less the air can circulate.

Never ever wet the foliage. Damp foliage is heaven for fungal spores.

Try to keep a gap of about a foot between the lowest foliage and the soil. Fungal spores can and will fall from the foliage to the soil underneath and they can splash back up again when watering. The gap helps against this.

The problem with greenhouses is that the closed environment can be an incubator for diseases. That's what you have to work against.

Tomatoes - pinching out

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 11:26

That, and if the plants are close to curtains via disease, there's no helping them.

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