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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 10:41

Yes, deadheading helps. I've been doing it with the massive crop I've grown for my wife. Eventually, though, they can't resist bolting.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 10:34

The bolted leaves won't hurt you, Lavande, they'll just lack their usual taste. Coriander isn't one of the heat-lovers. Quite the contrary. I'd give them dappled light, keeping the soil as cool as possible. And water seems to help to keep the soil cool.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 08:47

I might be wrong, but I don't think there are two sorts, figrat. Cilantro is the American term for the leaves and they apply the name coriander to the seeds. Elsewhere, in English anyway, it's all coriander.

My wife loves the stuff. I've grown about 40 plants for her and the early ones are already bolting. And I used a variety that claims to be bolthardy. They say soil temperature is the key to the bolting. Keep the soil temp down and you can prolong the plant's life. I keep ours in the shade and well watered.

Help with chilli plant growing

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 08:35

Mmmm. The edit function isn't working. That strange devil symbol in the NPK ratio should be a 6.

Help with chilli plant growing

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 08:27

solution, to answer your questions:

1. Water only when the plant needs it. Let the mix dry out between waterings. Neither toms nor chillies - not many other things - benefit from overwatering. In addition, the fruit's heat is basically dictated by its genes, though cultural factors can have an impact. But a mild variety won't produce a hot chilli. You'd need to start with a hot variety.

2. There's no real evidence that plucking smaller leaves achieves anything.

3. Like toms, chillies need as much warmth and sunlight as they can get. Get the plant outside if you can, even inside a small greenhouse with some ventilation.

4. Like toms, chillies benefit from a fertiliser that's low in N (nitrogen), higher in P (phosphorous), and even higher in K (potassium). Too much nitrogen and you'll get foliage instead of fruit. Phosphorous is good for the plant's overall health, root structure, and flower development. Potassium aids the development of fruit.

The product you've bought has an NPK of 3:2:6. It's not too bad in the sense that the potassium percentage is double the nitrogen. A specialty tomato fertiliser with an NPK along the lines of 39 would be better.

But, anyway, you can scale down the manufacturer's recommended dosage. They cite 4.5l or about a gallon. Divide by, say, 4 to give you a manageable amount, a litre, dividing the amount of product by the same amount.

You probably won't use a litre when you fertilise. A litre might last two feeds.

As with overwatering, you need to be careful about overfertilising. Chillies, like toms, won't do their best if overfertilised. When they produce fruit, they're seeking to reproduce themselves, and they're much more likely to do so if they think they need to - in other words, if they're feeling vulnerable. Tough love works best in terms of both watering and fertilising. I wouldn't fertilise more than once every couple of weeks.


Chilli problem

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 12:40

Unpollinated flowers will drop off but usually dry and shrivel a bit first, I find. Are they drying at all? Or just dropping off?


Can unsterilized compost ever be used for tomatoes?

Posted: 01/06/2012 at 16:45

Home compost is fine once the plants are established. I use tons of it. Sowing seeds in home compost is the problematic one.

Can unsterilized compost ever be used for tomatoes?

Posted: 01/06/2012 at 16:19

Apart from the various possible nasties in home compost, you'd have no idea what the pH might be.


Posted: 01/06/2012 at 09:02

It's always fun getting "volunteers", finding out what they are. If they're hybrids, you get some interesting variations on the parent variety in the first generation.


Posted: 01/06/2012 at 07:34

Yes, that's about the average given the right sowing conditions. Some will germinate in a couple of days. Older seeds can take up to a month.

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