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Latest posts by Italophile

Tomato growing tips

Posted: 05/08/2015 at 07:02

What do you mean by going bad underneath? A dark patch at the blossom (bottom) end of the fruit? Could be Blossom End Rot which is caused by plant stress. This is BER:

Horse manure is a great addition to the soil providing it's aged rather than fresh. Fresh manure will burn the roots of plants.

Is this tomato blight?

Posted: 05/08/2015 at 06:17

Auntiemand, unless it's Late Blight, which will kill an entire plant within a few days, the plant will go on producing. Most fungal diseases aren't a death sentence. Just looks a bit ugly.

Tomato leaf changes - first time grower nerves

Posted: 04/08/2015 at 17:44

No problems, EC.

For what it's worth, an example of "controlled neglect" reaping rewards. Mine are in the ground on a terrace surrounded by dry stone walls. It's been high-30s for about 8 weeks now. That's in the shade, so it's well into the 40s up in the garden.

An Anna Russian plant looked like it was nearing the end of its days. It had fruited nicely but there didn't seem to be anything on the way apart from a couple of flowers that didn't look like opening in the heat. I decided to leave it in place and see what happened. I didn't water it once. Ten days later, it has started producing again. Three or four wee Anna Russians have appeared.


Posted: 04/08/2015 at 10:36

derbyduck, cut back on watering (and also feeding if you're feeding them). Let them struggle a bit, aim for "controlled neglect". It should encourage flowering and fruiting. Toms are plants that, if they sense they're in jeopardy, are more likely to seek to reproduce themselves which is what flowering and fruiting is all about.

Pumpkin problem

Posted: 04/08/2015 at 07:37

Looking good, Baz! 

Tomato leaf changes - first time grower nerves

Posted: 04/08/2015 at 07:35

EC, fret not, they look like lovely, healthy plants. You've got some minor fungal disease - those spots and patches - so just nip off those affected leaves and destroy them. As Dove says, spraying against fungal problems has to be preventive. Once fungal spores have settled on foliage, they're pretty much impervious.

Are all those stakes supporting the foliage of one plant or do you have more than one plant per pot? It's hard to see clearly. Either way, it looks very cluttered with foliage which works against good air circulation. Air circulation is the best natural aid against fungal disease, it keeps the fungal spores on the move. If you do have more than one plant to a pot, keep it to one per pot next season. Give them space.

I'd take off some of the lower foliage for starters. It's good to keep at least 12" of clear space between the lowest foliage and the soil. Fungal spores fall from the foliage to the soil beneath and can be splashed back up onto the foliage when watering. 

Apart from that, you can be proud of your first time growing from seed! 

Baz, Dove is right yet again. Never wet the foliage, particularly at night when there's no sun to dry them. Damp foliage is heaven for fungal spores.

As a rule of thumb, if you see things that bother you on the plant during the warmth of the day, wait till after dark when it's cooler and have another look. Plants react spontaneously to stimuli like heat but relax again later. This is particularly true of drooping foliage. Foliage can droop on a warm day but that doesn't necessarily mean the plant is short of water. It's a common misinterpretation. Wait till after dark. If the foliage has perked up again, no need to water. If the foliage is still drooping, water. It's always best to monitor the plant's needs rather than - eg, water by rote.


Posted: 03/08/2015 at 12:53

Boater, your regime sounds great. Stick to it. The difference between the bags in terms of moisture, ultimately, will be minimal. It's the infrequent, deep watering that's important.

Feeding twice a week is too much regardless of grow bags, glass, whatever. The manufacturer is (a) furthering the myth that toms are big feeders; and (b) wanting to sell you more of their product. 

Tomato leaf changes - first time grower nerves

Posted: 02/08/2015 at 18:01

Any chance of a photo or two, EC? Leaves can curl for all sorts of reasons, most of them harmless. It could be the temperature fluctuations.

The brown and yellow marks could be fungal problems. Or not. A photo would be really useful. Failing that, can you be more specific? Are there little brown "bulls eyes" with a paler halo around them? If so, that's probably Early Blight. 

Strawberries in pots, purchase now?

Posted: 01/08/2015 at 07:37

Strawbs are just about indestructible in my experience. I left some out on the terrace by mistake last winter, they were buried in snow, they bounced back happily.

scented climbers up a mountain

Posted: 01/08/2015 at 06:19

CC, I'm in Tuscany. The question isn't unique to Italy but, for what it's worth, have friends down the road just outside Cortona with a massive pergola that gets the full brunt of very hot summer sun. They planted a mixture of wisteria and clematis with a couple of climbing roses for contrasting colours. Works a treat, beautifully dappled sunlight. Copes well with bitter winters too. Grapes aren't a good idea for the reason stated.

Where in Umbria are you? Have other friends on a hll just outside Todi.

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