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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 04/07/2015 at 11:03

Chrissy, watering the leaves doesn't cause Blossom End Rot. BER is caused by plant stress, the stress basically interfering with the plant's internal system for distributing calcium to the fruit. There can be all the calcium in the world available to the plant's roots but not enough gets to the fruit. Plant stress can be caused by all sorts of things - irregular watering patterns, strong winds, fluctuating temperatures, etc.

And, for whatever reason, some varieties are more prone to BER than others. The plum varieties - Roma, etc - are always candidates for BER even when other varieties grown around them, under exactly the same conditions, remain free of it.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 04/07/2015 at 07:40

I can't stress enough how inherently tough tomato plants are, forget-me-not. I think I've told the story here before about the plants I swapped with my local fruttivendolo (greengrocer). He would dig his up out of the ground - they'd probably been in the ground a couple of weeks - and jam them into a bucket with only the soil attached to their roots.

One year he gave me too many. I left two in the bucket - still with only the soil attached to their roots - and forgot all about them. They sat in full sun in temps into the 30s without water, fertiliser, anything. I came across them later in the season. They'd more than doubled in size and one had started fruiting before it died.

It's a worthwhile experiment to isolate one potted plant and give it a minimum of water and fertiliser. Just keep it alive. But make sure that the watering regime, whatever it is, is regular. Irregular watering patterns will stress a plant and could cause problems like Blossom End Rot. Compare the plant's performance against the others at the end of the season.

Olive tree problem....

Posted: 03/07/2015 at 10:08

Yes, and destroy them. It will help against the spread. Clear away any that have already fallen and destroy them. 

When I've sprayed it's been in autumn and again in spring.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 14:00

The best test for watering in pots is to stick your finger down into the soil as deeply as you can. While the surface might be dry, there can be moisture deeper down where the roots are.

Another test is simply to watch the plants. If they droop during the day when it's warm, wait till the sun goes down. If they perk up again, they're fine. If not, water.

I'd've thought every other day was a bit much unless you've got pretty warm weather.

I'd also lay off the fertiliser. Let the plants get going under their own steam. A lot of people fertilise after the first couple of trusses appear, which is fair enough, but it's the feeding regime after that that's more important. Certainly toms in pots need more fertiliser than plants in the ground because watering leeches out the nutrients from the confined space of the pot. On the other hand, toms don't need a lot of fertiliser to prosper. They respond better to "tough love". Too much fertiliser - and water, for that matter - only leaves them bloated and less likely to produce fruit.

On the couple of occasions that I've grown toms in pots, I didn't feed more than once a month.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 13:04

Well done! Subject to your varieties I'd go as tall as possible. You have to subtract the depth of the pot from the length of the stake to get the practical height of the stake. Get them as deep as possible, touching the bottom of the pot, and bed them in as well as you can with the soil around them.

Any staked tom will be vulnerable in very strong wind. One of my Anna Russian plants and my Camp Joy have both already passed about 7 feet. They don't make stakes long enough to cope with that sort of height so I've added second stakes to each plant for extra security in strong winds.

Olive tree problem....

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 09:48

Certainly fits the description, Andy. I've had various fungal problems with my tree from time to time. Bordeaux mixture or copper sulfate are the usual treatments. 

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 29/06/2015 at 08:16

Have you tried garden centres? They usually have stakes of all sizes.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 28/06/2015 at 09:31

They need sun, as much as possible. Ultimately, it's hardly worth bothering if they get no sun at all. 

How big are their containers? The stake (cane) not only has to support itself but also the weight of the plant tied to it. In windy conditions you need to bury the stake as deeply as you can in the container to stabilise it. This means as deep a container as you can get relative to its overall size.

As to the flowers, they will come. How often are you feeding and watering? Overfeeding and overwatering work against flowers developing. 

feeding tomatoes

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 12:56

And less is better when it comes to feeding them, ladycruiser. Toms thrive on "tough love". Mine are outside in the ground, I feed them once a couple of weeks after planting out; and once more later in the season. Providing your soil is decent, that's enough.

Tomato seedling mix up - can anyone identify?

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 12:52

Cat, I can't see any flower trusses forming in the photo. Are there any? That's when you'll know the difference. GD, a cherry, will have multiple - up to 10 or so - flowers forming in virtually a line either side of the truss. The Roma, depending which version it is, shouldn't have more than a couple to a truss.

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