Latest posts by Italophile

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.


Posted: 03/08/2015 at 12:53

Boater, your regime sounds great. Stick to it. The difference between the bags in terms of moisture, ultimately, will be minimal. It's the infrequent, deep watering that's important.

Feeding twice a week is too much regardless of grow bags, glass, whatever. The manufacturer is (a) furthering the myth that toms are big feeders; and (b) wanting to sell you more of their product. 

Tomato leaf changes - first time grower nerves

Posted: 02/08/2015 at 18:01

Any chance of a photo or two, EC? Leaves can curl for all sorts of reasons, most of them harmless. It could be the temperature fluctuations.

The brown and yellow marks could be fungal problems. Or not. A photo would be really useful. Failing that, can you be more specific? Are there little brown "bulls eyes" with a paler halo around them? If so, that's probably Early Blight. 

Strawberries in pots, purchase now?

Posted: 01/08/2015 at 07:37

Strawbs are just about indestructible in my experience. I left some out on the terrace by mistake last winter, they were buried in snow, they bounced back happily.

scented climbers up a mountain

Posted: 01/08/2015 at 06:19

CC, I'm in Tuscany. The question isn't unique to Italy but, for what it's worth, have friends down the road just outside Cortona with a massive pergola that gets the full brunt of very hot summer sun. They planted a mixture of wisteria and clematis with a couple of climbing roses for contrasting colours. Works a treat, beautifully dappled sunlight. Copes well with bitter winters too. Grapes aren't a good idea for the reason stated.

Where in Umbria are you? Have other friends on a hll just outside Todi.


Posted: 31/07/2015 at 16:02

The rule of thumb is to water as required, erring on the side of less is better. It sounds like the bags get a serious soaking. Do you check for moisture beneath the surface? Stick a finger or hand down as far as you can into the mix?

Sounds like a lot of food too. How often are you feeding?

And, growing indoors, your flowers might need a helping hand to pollinate themselves. Outside, insects can help, their fossicking triggering the internal pollination mechanism. The breeze can do the same thing. Without those options available indoors, you can give the flowers a flick with your fingers.

Sweetcorn advice

Posted: 31/07/2015 at 07:27

If they're planted in blocks/rows they should be self-supporting.

Tomatoes - some fruit not growing properly

Posted: 31/07/2015 at 07:03

Those two toms came off the same plant? Coir de Bue is an oxheart variety, the one on the left is pretty typical. The one on the right, from what I can see, isn't. Unless it has some ribbing on the shoulders (the underside in the photo), I think you might have had a crossed seed. 



Posted: 30/07/2015 at 15:01

If it's been cold and miserable and the soil has been damp, one warm day shouldn't warrant watering. You can let the soil dry out. It will probably help trigger your flowers too.

Pumpkin problem

Posted: 29/07/2015 at 13:45

When are you hand pollinating, baza? Early in the day is best, as early as possible, using pollen that's as fresh as possible. As well as coating the outside of the stigma, try to work the pollen inside the stigma's little fronds. I sometimes leave the stamen inside the stigma. But you have to be gentle, the stigma is easy to damage, and, once damaged, the flower will die.

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