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Latest posts by Italophile

Tomatoes indoors too early?

Posted: 08/04/2015 at 19:11

If you can grow bush types, you can grow any tom, Gillygee. Apart from as much sun as possible - 6 to 8 hours a day is ideal - it's all down to temperatures, especially overnight. Planting out when overnight temps are in single figures won't hurt the plant - within reason, obviously, I'm talking about 8 or 9C - but their development will be retarded. You're better off waiting.

As an experiment, I once planted out a couple of plants with overnight temps of around 8C. A month later, I planted out the rest with overnight temps of 12-14C. They matured at the same time. The early plantings took that much longer.

Fleece doesn't really compensate. 

The Tomatoes have arrived!!

Posted: 08/04/2015 at 06:47

Lucy, they will be much better off outside as soon as the weather allows. Toms need at least 6-8 hours a day of direct sunlight to perform at their best. They will produce with less but the results will be correspondingly less.

What are your tems at the moment - day and night - and what are your usual (if there's such a thing) temps - day and night - in summer?

The Tomatoes have arrived!!

Posted: 07/04/2015 at 06:39

Tomatoes thrive on controlled neglect, Lucy. Ovewatered and overfed are the worst things for them. 

I would still take them out of the propagator. The plants can't decide when they do and don't want moisture. If the soil in the pot has access to water it will soak it up regardless. It has to be allowed to dry out.

Sounds like you will be growing them outdoors in containers? 

The Tomatoes have arrived!!

Posted: 06/04/2015 at 07:27

Lucy, all 3 varieties are indeterminates, meaning they will need staking further down the track.

At this point all they need is as much light (preferably natural sunlight) as possible and some reasonable warmth. The aim is to let them develop under their own steam, building up their strength for the season ahead.

Take them out of the propagator. Water them only when necessary. The mix must not be permanently damp. It should be allowed to dry out between waterings. Toms are very sturdy things and shouldn't be mollycoddled.

If you have daytime temps into double figures, put them outside in a sunny spot, moving them to catch the sun if necessary. Bring them inside at night if the temps drop overnight. If your dayime temps are lower, put them on a tray or into a small crate and cover them with something like bubblewrap which will keep them warm while letting in any available sun. 

My seedlings live in 3" pots until they're ready to plant out. They're ready to plant out when they reach around 6" in height though obviously the timing depends on (a) your temperatures; and (b) where you're going to grow them.

You don't need to worry about staking till they're planted out. In good growing conditions expect the plants to grow up to 6', though the Green Zebra will likely be a bit more compact.

Aubergine seedlings - leggy?

Posted: 05/04/2015 at 09:28


Tomatoes indoors too early?

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 12:42

Take them off once the plants are in the ground and growing. You remove sideshoots to stop the plant developing too many headers - ie, main stems that will produce more branches producing more fruit. Rule of thumb is two headers - ie, two main stems producing branches producing fruit.

One tip with Sungold. The fruit is prone to splitting as it approaches maturity. Keep a close eye on them. Even harvest them a couple of days early.

Aubergine seedlings - leggy?

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 11:38

Astrudle, wrap up whatever it is - crate, tray - like a parcel. Just make sure you tent the bubblewrap somehow. I use a beer bottle in the middle of the crate as a tent pole. I do it with my tom seedlings when it's sunny outside but too cold for the seedlings uncovered. The bubblewrap traps a lot of warmth and lets in every ounce of precious sunlight.


Tomatoes indoors too early?

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 09:51

I'd take off those early flowers, let the plants put all their energy into developing. You'll get plenty of flowers and fruit later. Sungold are prolific. Leave the sideshoots for the moment.

Aubergine seedlings - leggy?

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 09:49

You could put them outside during the day in a crate - or on a tray - wrapped in bubblewrap. Take advantage of the natural sunlight and warmth trapped by the bubblewrap. You only need to tent the bubblewrap with something to keep it clear of the seedlings.

Ideas needed for successful pollination of Cayenne Pepper?

Posted: 03/04/2015 at 07:58

Chillies, like tomatoes, are self-pollinating in that the flowers contain both male and female bits and the pollen is transferred internally. They often don't need help pollinating. Insects can help the process as they forage simply by giving the flower a bit of a shake and triggering the internal transfer. A decent breeze will do the same thing. In the absence of insects or a breeze you can give the flowers a gentle flick with your fingers to help them along.

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