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Latest posts by Italophile


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!

tiny caterpillar

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 14:42

An organic contact spray like pyrethrum will knock them over but you'll have to keep a close eye out for their return.

Growing Pumpkins Vertically

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 08:32

Ah! Maybe it was a Triffid in disguise ...


Posted: 16/05/2012 at 08:29

It's said that bay and eucalypt leaves shouldn't be composted as they contain a growth-inhibiting enzyme. Pity, because bays grow like weeds here in Tuscany. Anyway, I've never tested the theory and don't plan to.

Growing Pumpkins Vertically

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 07:15

That's a shame. You can, as I suggested above, nip out the growing tips of the vines to contain them. Some people even think that it produces more pumpkins. Stopping the growth of the main vines tends to encourage the growth of smaller off-shoots which - some people think - produce more pumpkins.

Problems with dwarf beans

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 11:18

I suppose the tray of water would increase humidity but you wouldn't think enough to affect the beans. Most puzzling. I can only think either a mosture problem or something in the mix.

Problems with dwarf beans

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 09:39

Are they damping off? Too much moisture? Though if you've had success before, you obviously know what you're doing.

Are you using a mix you've used before?

pinching out

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 09:36

So do I. They don't grow to the size or bulk of tomato plants, hence no need to worry about side shoots.

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