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Latest posts by Italophile

tomato plant spacing

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 15:29

Six inches apart? They'll throttle each other and compete for the same nutrition, mudlark. Plus, with so much foliage so close together there's little room for air circulation and that can be a recipe for fungal problems. If you can manage at least two feet apart, do so.

tomato plant spacing

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 14:56

Well, stripping all the leaves undoes photosynthesis so there will be next to no new growth or toms. I can't see it helping the established fruit either, but if it works fror him ...

There used to be a theory around that toms only needed three leaves per plant for purposes of photosynthesis.

tomato plant spacing

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 07:18

I don't know how it translates to growing in gro-bags, but, in the ground, toms should have at least three feet between each plant.

gardengirl, toms don't need direct sunshine for ripening. It's warmth that ripens the fruit. They will ripen in shade providing it's warm enough. Indoors even, in a warm spot.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 12:14

No, Lavande, I grow it in pots. Lots of pots. I'm in central Italy, got a three-terrace garden, loads of stone walls, nothing remotely approaching shade, so it's like an oven. Coriander wouldn't last ten minutes. I keep the pots on the terrace under the covered pergola with plenty of water.

She thanks me profusely!

BTW, she read somewhere that you can freeze the leaves so she is trying it this year. Harvest the leaves in bulk, wrap them very very tightly, as tightly as possible, removing all the air, in plastic wrap. It should look like a sausage. And freeze it. She just checked on the first batch. The leaves are stiff but retain all their aroma, and, presumably, taste. We'll find out!

I suspect the secret is not to wash the leaves first. You'd never get them completely dry and ice would form, turning the leaves mushy.


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?


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