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Latest posts by Italophile

The Tomatoes have arrived!!

Posted: 05/05/2015 at 13:03

Here's that tom I photographed (above) when planting out. 9 days later:


It's a Jaune Negib, a yellow French heirloom, pretty unremarkable apart from being very early - around 60 days - and a unique creamy after taste. I grow about half a dozen plants for fruit to make yellow tomato relish.

The Tomatoes have arrived!!

Posted: 05/05/2015 at 07:23

Rain won't hurt them beyond wetting the foliage. Aim for air circulation as a means of helping against fungal problems.

Plenty of room between the plants, and as they grow upwards, nip off the lower branches and foliage to keep 12-18" of clear space between the lowest foliage and the mix. Fungal spores will turn up, there's no escaping them, and they can and will drop from the foliage down onto the mix. Watering can splash them back up again. The clear space helps against this.

And don't be afraid to thin out foliage across the plant. Judiciously, obviously, you don't want to denude the thing, but you want to be able to see light through all the foliage. Impenetrable clumps of foliage work against air circulation and are heaven for fungal spores. 

The Tomatoes have arrived!!

Posted: 04/05/2015 at 21:39

12? Crikey, are you going into the veg business?

I should talk. I've planted out 16.

They'll be fine. They shouldn't be big enough yet to be bothered by wind in terms of blowing them over but keep a watch.


Advice needed with tomato and runner bean seedlings

Posted: 03/05/2015 at 21:58

I'd go with No 2. Here in Italy I use good quality terriccio - the equivalent of No 2 - for both sowing the seeds and potting up. I've never bothered with a dedicated sowing mix.

I think you might have been overwatering too. You can afford to let the mix dry out completely. Obviously don't leave it bone dry for days on end but it shouldn't be permanently damp even beneath the surface. Tomatoes are very sturdy plants, even at the stage yours are at. Less is better in every regard with toms - water and fertiliser. They don't need mollycoddling and will respond better to "tough love".

Always water from the top. Never let them sit in water to soak it up from the bottom. You'll end up with permanently damp mix.

Advice needed with tomato and runner bean seedlings

Posted: 03/05/2015 at 16:33

I've had a closer look at the photos, Cidermill. It might be my monitor but it looks like only one seedling is pale. Is that right? Or are they all degrees of pale?

Anyway, the colour isn't down to a lack of moisture. If anything, pale can indicate too much water. At this stage they should be in a straight good quality potting mix rather than seed mix.


Advice needed with tomato and runner bean seedlings

Posted: 03/05/2015 at 10:51

That's why I asked about what they're growing in. Seedlings shouldn't need any sort of fertiliser till after they're planted out.

Advice needed with tomato and runner bean seedlings

Posted: 03/05/2015 at 09:25

The toms look nice and sturdy but definitely on the pale side. What sort of soil are they growing in? Seedlings of that age, in a good quality potting mix, shouldn't need extra nutrition.

rocket leaves

Posted: 29/04/2015 at 11:57

That depth is okay. Is it well drained? None of those fertilisers really have the level of nitrogen that will give greens a serious boost. They also have no use for the P and K components. I use a dedicated nitrogen liquid fertiliser made from ox blood with the N component into double figures. 

rocket leaves

Posted: 29/04/2015 at 11:42

Rocket is "cut and come again" so more leaves will emerge. That said, if you want to harvest regularly you really need more than three plants. The spacing is okay, how deep is your soil? Rocket is at its best grown quickly so regular feeding with a nitrogen-based fertiliser will help.

rocket leaves

Posted: 29/04/2015 at 08:21

Probably overwatering. Rocket needs regular moisture in warm weather. Without it the leaves can become bitter and the plant can bolt. I always harvest when the leaves are on the small side. The larger they grow, the coarser the flavour, I've found.

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