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Latest posts by Italophile

Supermarket tomato sprouting

Posted: 05/07/2015 at 10:52

I've never seen it but I recall it being posted about here before. Inside the tomato, the seeds are coated in a greeny-yellowy gel. It's a naturally-occurring germination inhibitor designed to stop exactly what has happened. It's also the gel that has to be rinsed off if you're saving seeds to grow next season. 

It's likely that for whatever reason, maybe a genetic glitch, the inhibitor has broken down somehow.

beefstake tomatoes

Posted: 05/07/2015 at 10:42

NM, beefsteaks are, by definition, on the larger side so there aren't many fast-maturing varieties. They usually take 70 days or longer from planting out to maturity and that's in prime conditions, prolonged warm weather, etc.

I have half a dozen beefsteak varieties in the ground. 70 days from planting out ticked over the other day. Seriously warm weather has only hit here in the last month - very high 20s into the mid-30s - and the first beefsteak is probably another 10 days away from maturity.

How long is your viable growing season?


Posted: 05/07/2015 at 10:30

And if a decision is made to spray, the spray has to be preventive, before the first symptoms of infection appear. Spraying after their appearance is pretty much a waste of time.

Few flowers on tomotoes

Posted: 05/07/2015 at 10:24

Banana skins do contain those nutrients but I suspect the nutrients won't be available until the skins have broken down in the soil (ie, decomposed). 


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. 

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