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Latest posts by Italophile

Controling Pumpkins

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 15:54

Taking off the growing tips when the main vine is about 10' long is also claimed to be one of the tricks to encourage female flowers. Every pumpkin grower knows the frustration of a zillion male flowers and few - or no - female flowers. Theory has it that the side shoots that develop after removing the growing tip will bear female flowers.

If only it were so simple ...


Dying Tomato Plants

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 15:50

Martyn, it could be fungal or a wilt. Hard to know without seeing a photo. How does the foliage look? It's rare for disease only to manifest on the stems.

And could you cut off a section of diseased stem, slice it open and have a look inside? Some diseases attack the plant internally and there will be evidence.

Greenhouse after tomato blight

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 08:17

Subject to what the fungal problem was exactly, you shouldn't need to remove any soil. Spores will have fallen onto the soil surface but you can bury them by thoroughly turning over the soil. Well buried, they're harmless. Fungal spores are airborne critters. Any infection you get next season will be fresh via any breeze.

black peppers

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 08:07

Barbara, does the mould look anything like this?


Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 07:53

There's no doubting your commitment, Dove. Or your sparkling clean hands.


Posted: 17/08/2012 at 06:31

That's probably the cause, gatehill. Few plants like wet feet and toms aren't one of them. Water when needed rather than by rote. Droopy toms can be misleading, a bit of a trap. On a warm day, toms will wilt or droop a little but the test is to wait till the cool of the evening. If the plant perks up again, it doesn't need water. If it's still drooping, water.


Posted: 16/08/2012 at 20:54

Blossom End Rot is the result of the plant being unable to distribute sufficient calcium to the fruit via its internal system. There can be plenty of calcium available to the roots, the plant just can't distribute it. It's thought to be caused by plant stress.

What causes the stress to the plant? It can be  fluctuating temps, strong winds, irregular watering patterns, overwatering, overfertilising - in fact, anything that upsets the plant's internal equilibrium can cause it. Sometimes there's just no knowing. I've had a plant with BER planted right alongside another plant with no BER. Same soil, exactly the same weather and growing conditions.

The further complication is that some varieties - the plums, like Roma and San Marzano - are simply more prone to BER. No one knows why beyond that they seem to be genetically predisposed to it.

Dreaded Tomato Blight

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 15:05

Just what the place needed, an injection of Welsh genes.

What exactly does a 'sterile' plant mean ?

Posted: 15/08/2012 at 11:18

Yes, proprietary plants - created, owned and effectively patented by commercial organisations - usually have sterile seeds to prevent regrowing. Years ago Brocollini - like a miniature brocolli with thin stems and leaves - was introduced into Australia. Its production was licensed to an Australian company by its American commercial "owner" so they were the only source in Australia. You could be prosecuted for even trying to reproduce it.


Posted: 15/08/2012 at 11:03

Good to hear. Is the beefsteak smooth or ribbed?

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