Latest posts by Italophile

Confused on Lettuce Name

Posted: 28/07/2015 at 21:12

A bit of extra (useless) trivia. Lettuce in Italy is rarely called lattuga even if it's its real name. It gets lumped under the noun insalata, the generic term for salad. Which is a feminine noun too.

Confused on Lettuce Name

Posted: 28/07/2015 at 06:46

It's Lollo Rossa. As Bob says, Rossa is the feminine form of the adjective (red). It's probably feminine because lettuce, in Italian, is lattuga, a feminine noun, and adjectives take the gender form of the noun they're describing.

Olive trees drying out and giving no fruits at all.

Posted: 27/07/2015 at 07:50

Dove's right, olives don't do well if they have competition for moisture and nutrients. We're surrounded by olive farms here and you never see anything other than olive trees and with plenty of space between them. I think you need to do some clearing.

It's also very good advice to talk to other local growers.

Is this tomato blight?

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 10:01


Posted: 26/07/2015 at 09:54

You're overfeeding, Sheila, and it sounds like a fertiliser rich in nitrogen is boosting the foliage. If they're in pots, you don't need to feed more than once a fortnight. In the ground, even less. Use a fertiliser higher in P and K than N.

Is this tomato blight?

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 09:49

Could be Timber Rot, could also be a bacterial stem rot. I've had it a couple of times after botching the removal of a branch leaving an open wound.

Pumpkin trimming?

Posted: 25/07/2015 at 06:13

Fertilise with something rich in potassium to help boost the size. Avoid fertilisers rich in nitrogen which will only promote foliage growth.

Pumpkin pollination Problems....

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 15:35

Time will tell with those baby ones, Mandie. For hand pollination you'll have to wait for the male flowers to open. Unopened, they're immature and you won't have the pollen. 

If and when they do open and you want to hand pollinate, you only have to peel away the "petals" around the stamen of the male flower to expose the stamen covered with pollen. Rub it very gently all over the female flower's stigma until you see pollen adhering to the stigma. Use two stamens if need be to coat the stigma all over. But be gentle. The stigma is easily damaged and you can kill off the flower.

Morning is the best time to hand pollinate, as early as possible, while the pollen is fresh. The female flower can also close later in the day.

You need to be careful of overwatering. Stick a finger as deep down into the soil as you can to test moisture levels underneath. Things might look dry on the surface but there can be enough moisture deeper down where the roots are.

If you're fertilising the plant at this stage, avoid a fertiliser high in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will give you plenty of leaves but not much in the way of flowers. You need a fertiliser higher in phosphorous to encourage flowers.

All fertilisers have an NPK indicator on the packet or container. N = nitrogen; P = phosphorous; K = potassium. You would need a fertiliser with a higher P figure than an N figure. Don't overdo the feeding either.


Pumpkin pollination Problems....

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 13:13

Mandie, they don't seem to be withering. How long since the flowers fell off the end? 

A mature plant can support any number of pumpkins on different runners all coming from the one root. I've got 5 or 6 on one plant at the moment. People often limit the fruiting to two or three trying to grow bigger pumpkins on the basis that less fruit means more plant energy for the few.

I see the plant is against a wall. How much sun is it getting? It needs absolutely as much direct sunlight and warmest temperature as possible

Pumpkin pollination Problems....

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 10:17

Mandie, it's odd that you have more female flowers than male. It's just about always the other way around. And it's very odd that the males aren't opening. What variety are you growing?

Not sure what you mean by needing to pick one or two females from the plant to keep. Female whats?

You already have 4 or 5 baby pumpkins? If they've got to the size of a tennis ball, it sounds like they might have been pollinated. Unpollinated, they tend to wither and die off before that, usually within three or four days. What else do you have in the garden that might have cross-pollinated? 

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