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Latest posts by Italophile

tomatoes-growbags or not growbags?

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 08:48
artychris wrote (see)

Can anybody tell me whether it is a better idea to grow tomatoes outside in a growbag or, can the crop be just as good, if you grow directly into the ground.

Better in the ground, I think, given half-decent soil of some depth. The soil doesn't have to be rich. Toms are pretty forgiving of most soils providing the pH isn't too far out of kilter. They like things slightly acid but will cope a degree or so either way. The bottom line, though, is position. They need as much as they can get - 6 to 8 hours a day minimum to achieve full potential.

Plants in the ground also need a lot less water. Watering infrequently - maybe once a week - but very deeply will drive the roots down deep into the soil and away from the surface where they're more affected by surface temperatures. Frequent, shallow watering only keeps the roots shallow.

Plants in the ground also need less fertiliser. Providing the soil is half-decent, one feed a couple of weeks after planting out, another one when the first fruit is setting, and one later in the season will be sufficient. They won't suffer. Toms are the sturdiest of critters that respond best to tough love.

how to not attract carrot fly when thinning

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 08:37

It's said that thinning - or, for that matter, harvesting - very late in the day or even after dark can avoid attracting carrot fly.

Hardening off and true leaves

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 08:34

As Hollie-Hock says, the more mature they are, the better they will cope.

young tomato plants

Posted: 19/05/2012 at 07:44

Poppy, it sounds like over-watering. I've never grown in grow bags, nor am I familiar with your support pot system, but toms - however they're grown - should never be over-watered. Let the growing medium dry out between waterings.

Talkback: Planting out tomatoes

Posted: 19/05/2012 at 07:40
sweetpea7 wrote (see)

I live in Shropshire and the overnight  temp is going to be 7 that too cold to leave my tumbling toms out?

I answered your other thread, sweetpea. In short, 7 degrees overnight won't hurt them, but nor will it do them much good except in terms of hardening-off. Any less than 7 degrees and they're better off inside.

tumbling toms

Posted: 19/05/2012 at 07:38

Well, as long as it's 7 degrees and doesn't get any colder it won't actually hurt the plants, but nor will it do them a lot of good except in terms of the hardening-off process. Tom plants do a surprising amount of growing overnight but they need around double-figure temps to do so. Otherwise they just sit and wait for it to get warmer.


Posted: 19/05/2012 at 07:26

Sounds like over-watering. They don't need to be kept moist, particularly in your climate. Water when they need it.


Posted: 18/05/2012 at 08:10
John Reynolds wrote (see)
Does it hurt to cover baby leaves when planting tomatoes

You don't cover them but pinch them off before planting.

The rule of thumb with toms is to plant deeply. All of the plant's stem that is buried will turn into root structure. By planting out time, the first true leaves will be forming a canopy, and second and even third sets of leaves will have developed (or be developing) on mini-branches beneath them.

Nip off the cotyledons - if they haven't already fallen off - then also nip off any other mini-branches carrying second and even third sets of leaves, leaving only the canopy of first true leaves. Then plant deeply, right down to the canopy, so only the canopy is showing above the soil. Don't worry about losing the second and even third sets of leaves. The buried bare stem will quickily become root structure and the plant will grow like the clappers.

tiny caterpillar

Posted: 17/05/2012 at 21:34

I make enough to last about six months before making more. It's still effective after six months.

tiny caterpillar

Posted: 17/05/2012 at 15:07

Yes, it's derived from Chrysanthemums. You wouldn't use it on baby seedlings - well, you wouldn't spray most things on baby seedlings. With crops, you can harvest the day after spraying. Washing the crop, obviously.

It only works on contact with the pest, it's not systemic - meaning it doesn't penetrate the plant and stay there for a lasting effect. Which means you have to respray if the pests return, if it rains, etc.

Or, if you want to make your own spray, the garlic spray is the classic home gardener's weapon against caterpillars and the like. There are literally dozens of recipes. I make a combined garlic/chilli spray. I toss a head of garlic, a couple of hot chillies, a couple of squirts of washing-up detergent, a glug of oil and 4 or 5 cups of water into a blender. Blitz, strain out all the solids, then add another cup of water. Pour it into a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle, label it, and attack your pests. Again, it's only a contact spray. It doesn't have residual properties.

It's a bit pongy, but it works!

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