Latest posts by Italophile

Tomatoes why does thou not begin to ripen..eth?

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 09:05

Anything above low-20s is optimum for ripening. It's the temperature that's key, not direct sunlight. They will ripen in full shade if the temp is right. In good ripening weather, you're looking at roughly 4 weeks to ripe from the time the tom starts to change from dark green to a lighter green.

Temps into the 30s are fine, though you risk plant stress, particularly in an enclosed environment. I've got temps into the 40s up on my terraces, ripening is pretty rapid, and the open-air environment helps with the stress problem. The downside is that flowers rarely set fruit at that temperature so I'm getting fruit that set before the heat hit. It's a little cooler overnight now so fruit is starting to set again.

coffee grinds

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 08:53

I toss them onto the compost heap. Used grounds are pretty much neutral after brewing, losing most of their acidity in the process. 

Tomato Black Russian?

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 08:48

If you can grow one tom, you can grow them all!  I'm not a huge fan of the "black" varieties anyway. They have flavour but a bit thin and "metallic" for my taste. 

Anyone looking for a very reliable producer with excellent, complex flavour should try Cherokee Purple. Medium-sized tom, the plant doesn't take up a large amount of space, dead easy to grow. 

Tomato Black Russian?

Posted: 07/08/2015 at 06:18

Some varieties are prone to splitting, particularly concentrically - around the shoulders rather than vertically. Vertical (radial) splitting like yours is more often than not a moisture issue, often the result of a burst of moisture the plant - well, the fruit - wasn't expecting. Sudden heavy rain when the fruit is virtually ripe can cause it. The tomato's skin doesn't have the capacity to expand quickly enough.

Tomato growing tips

Posted: 05/08/2015 at 07:02

What do you mean by going bad underneath? A dark patch at the blossom (bottom) end of the fruit? Could be Blossom End Rot which is caused by plant stress. This is BER:

Horse manure is a great addition to the soil providing it's aged rather than fresh. Fresh manure will burn the roots of plants.

Is this tomato blight?

Posted: 05/08/2015 at 06:17

Auntiemand, unless it's Late Blight, which will kill an entire plant within a few days, the plant will go on producing. Most fungal diseases aren't a death sentence. Just looks a bit ugly.

Tomato leaf changes - first time grower nerves

Posted: 04/08/2015 at 17:44

No problems, EC.

For what it's worth, an example of "controlled neglect" reaping rewards. Mine are in the ground on a terrace surrounded by dry stone walls. It's been high-30s for about 8 weeks now. That's in the shade, so it's well into the 40s up in the garden.

An Anna Russian plant looked like it was nearing the end of its days. It had fruited nicely but there didn't seem to be anything on the way apart from a couple of flowers that didn't look like opening in the heat. I decided to leave it in place and see what happened. I didn't water it once. Ten days later, it has started producing again. Three or four wee Anna Russians have appeared.


Posted: 04/08/2015 at 10:36

derbyduck, cut back on watering (and also feeding if you're feeding them). Let them struggle a bit, aim for "controlled neglect". It should encourage flowering and fruiting. Toms are plants that, if they sense they're in jeopardy, are more likely to seek to reproduce themselves which is what flowering and fruiting is all about.

Pumpkin problem

Posted: 04/08/2015 at 07:37

Looking good, Baz! 

Tomato leaf changes - first time grower nerves

Posted: 04/08/2015 at 07:35

EC, fret not, they look like lovely, healthy plants. You've got some minor fungal disease - those spots and patches - so just nip off those affected leaves and destroy them. As Dove says, spraying against fungal problems has to be preventive. Once fungal spores have settled on foliage, they're pretty much impervious.

Are all those stakes supporting the foliage of one plant or do you have more than one plant per pot? It's hard to see clearly. Either way, it looks very cluttered with foliage which works against good air circulation. Air circulation is the best natural aid against fungal disease, it keeps the fungal spores on the move. If you do have more than one plant to a pot, keep it to one per pot next season. Give them space.

I'd take off some of the lower foliage for starters. It's good to keep at least 12" of clear space between the lowest foliage and the soil. Fungal spores fall from the foliage to the soil beneath and can be splashed back up onto the foliage when watering. 

Apart from that, you can be proud of your first time growing from seed! 

Baz, Dove is right yet again. Never wet the foliage, particularly at night when there's no sun to dry them. Damp foliage is heaven for fungal spores.

As a rule of thumb, if you see things that bother you on the plant during the warmth of the day, wait till after dark when it's cooler and have another look. Plants react spontaneously to stimuli like heat but relax again later. This is particularly true of drooping foliage. Foliage can droop on a warm day but that doesn't necessarily mean the plant is short of water. It's a common misinterpretation. Wait till after dark. If the foliage has perked up again, no need to water. If the foliage is still drooping, water. It's always best to monitor the plant's needs rather than - eg, water by rote.

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