Latest posts by Italophile

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.

Tomatoes - pinching out

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 10:51

The sun won't help the plants. The warmth will help the toms ripen.


Posted: 05/09/2012 at 10:50

Well, providing the affected produce and plant material is removed and destroyed, and you plant certified seed spuds the next season, you're in with a chance. The LB pathogens don't live on in the soil. Any infection you get next season will be a new infection. The spores are airborne, travelling on the breeze, and they can travel miles.

Tomatoes - pinching out

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 10:31

If the plants are close to dead, you're better off removing the fruit. It won't be getting any value from the plant. It also depends how far the fruit is along the road to ripeness.

New gardener rose question

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 10:29
biff227 wrote (see)

Great, I had noticed that a couple of surrounding roses has also started to show the signs.  Can I stop this from occuring again??  is it because I live in such a damp climate?


It's the most common rose problem. Nearly impossible to avoid. You can try spraying. Like all sprays against fungal problems it has to be preventive - you have to start before the symptoms appear. It's too late once they turn up. Effectively you're coating the leaves to prevent the fungal spores from getting a grip.

If you feel like spraying, Bordeaux Mixture is about the most common product, though it's going to be banned next year. You'll find other products at any garden centre. Spraying isn't a guarantee against the disease but it helps.

Other than that, it's a matter of dedicated housekeeping. As soon as you see a leaf showing the symptoms, remove it and destroy it. Collect any fallen affected leaves and destroy them too. And be careful of spreading the pathogen via either hands or secateurs.

best flavoured tomatoes

Posted: 05/09/2012 at 10:15

We're in Tuscany, Maud, about 90 mins by train south of Florence, between Arezzo and Cortona.

C. Fiorentino is the better of the two Costolutos, I think. More of a beefsteak variety. C. Genovese is flatter and even more heavily ribbed. They're old Italian varieties but I suspect there has been some fiddling over the years. Neither has the full flavour they used to have. Still, of the two, you have the right one.

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