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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 07/06/2012 at 08:53

Janie, you won't find Cherokee Purple plants anywhere. Seeds are available commercially. I have saved seeds for CP and a number of other even nicer heirlooms. Marianna's Peace, for example, rivals Brandywine for flavour, I think. I can send you any number of seeds if you like.

Here's a link to my gardening blog (which, I'm ashamed to admit, I haven't updated in eons). You can let me know your email address and/or name and address by posting in the comments section. I won't publish the details.

BTW, the posts on the blog about flowers are by my wife!

Help with chilli plant growing

Posted: 07/06/2012 at 06:51

It's a bit like a determinate tomato - the fruit on the branch marks the end of the branch's growth, but the plant itself fills out. Here's a photo of an Apache plant at its peak:

There's nothing you can do to force the plant. Just give it as much warmth and sunlight as you can. They thrive on both.


Posted: 06/06/2012 at 12:08

Janie, that they were from a market suggests they were probably homegrown.

The first photo - the three toms together - is a German Johnson, an American heirloom from, from memory, around Virginia. I'm not sure how the seeds would have found their way to the UK that long ago.

It's very similar to a tom called German Pink, a variety from, you guessed it, Germany. A lot closer to the UK than Virginia, USA. German Pink is a green-shouldered variety.

Here's a German Pink:

There's quite a bit of yellow on the shoulders in the photo. There's usually more green.

The second photo - two toms, one with vivid green - is of an heirloom tom called Cherokee Purple. Absolutely delicious tom, rich in flavour. I grow them every year. But it can't have been your tom because Cherokee Purple has only been around for 20-odd years.

Pity you never saw the plant from which the toms came. It would help narrow things down. For example, German Pink is a Potato Leaf variety, the leaves have virtually smooth edges, as distinct from the jagged, saw-tooth edges of the traditional tomato leaf.

Help with chilli plant growing

Posted: 06/06/2012 at 06:59

I'd cut back on the watering, solution. It won't need water every couple of days. You can afford to let the mix dry out between waterings. And I wouldn't feed more than once every couple of weeks. As I said above, chillies are like toms - they will produce best if they sense they're struggling a little. Tough love is the go.

Apache is a dwarf which makes it ideal for pots. Yours has some growing to do yet and it will produce more flowers.

Those black marks are very typical. It's just pigmentation.

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.

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