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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 09/08/2012 at 06:55

Or, in my case, the other extreme of a month and a half of baking 35C+ temps and not a drop of rain. Even with regular watering, the beetroot (in terms of size) has been a mixture of golf balls, tennis balls, with a couple of oversized oranges.

disappointing peppers

Posted: 09/08/2012 at 06:51

As a general rule it's better to pinch off any young fruit on a seedling before planting out. It lets the plant put all its energy into developing itself. But if it's later in the season, when the plant probably won't get to full maturity, no harm in leaving the fruit there for a head start.

disappointing peppers

Posted: 08/08/2012 at 16:26

No problems, greenmaid. BER is one of the most frustrating conditions with toms and peppers. Some varieties of toms - the plum varieties, like Roma and San Marzano - are much more prone to it. No one knows why.

I'd suggest, though, that weekly feeeding is too much anyway. Neither toms nor peppers are hungry plants. They will always produce more if they're left to struggle a little. Tough love or controlled neglect is the go.

Weeds and compost!

Posted: 08/08/2012 at 16:21

The problem with home composts is that they don't generate sufficient heat within to kill off the pesky seeds. In fact all my weeds go into black plastic bags (inside second, heavy-duty black plastic bags), tied up tightly and stacked out of sight on my top terrace garden. In the full sun of an Italian summer, the heat generated inside is enormous, killing off any living thing. By the next spring, I have bags of - effectively - mulch. Comes in very handy.

disappointing peppers

Posted: 08/08/2012 at 07:22

greenmaid, it looks like a condition called Blossom End Rot. It affects tomatoes, too. The science of the condition is understood - the plant is unable to distribute sufficient calcium to the fruit via its internal system. It doesn't mean there's insufficient calcium in the soil available to the plant's roots. In fact, that used to be the suspected cause and the diagnosis was always to add calcium to the soil. Science has since disproved that lore. The problem is that the plant isn't distributing the calcium in sufficient quantities internally.

What isn't yet wholly understood is what triggers the condition. It's thought that a plant being stressed - hence upsetting its internal equilibrium - is a major factor. Now, a plant doesn't need to be traumatised to be stressed. We're talking small margins. Outdoors, strong winds and fluctuating temperatures can cause plant stress. As can irregular watering patterns.

Indoors, irregular watering can also cause it, as can fluctuating temperatures, but overwatering and overfertilising can both be factors. Peppers - and toms, for that matter - can have too much of a good thing. A bit like one of us eating too much rich food.

When you say your partner has tended the peppers like babies, how often were the plants watered and fed?

How to move raspberry canes?

Posted: 07/08/2012 at 17:56

I'd wait till Spring, till after the last frost. As above, you have to get the root ball. That's the only challenge.

disappointing peppers

Posted: 07/08/2012 at 17:54

Deep brown patches on the fruit? All over? Or at one end? Any chance of a photo?

Tomatoe plants with no flowers !

Posted: 07/08/2012 at 11:17

Crikey, you want everything!

Tomatoe plants with no flowers !

Posted: 07/08/2012 at 06:43

Congrats, Becks, everything comes to she who waits. Is that the plant that's either Cerise Cherry or Alicante? Looks much more like an Alicante cluster than a CC cluster to me.


Posted: 06/08/2012 at 16:14

Toms are self-pollinating but you can always give them a help along by brushing the flowers with your hand or giving them a flick at the back with your fingers. A friend of mine used to use an electric toothbrush. By disturbing the pollen inside you increase the chances of it hitting the right spot.

Bacterial Spot will attack tom flowers but the major cause of flower failure is lack of pollination. Temps too high or too low or too much humidity can all impact.

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