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Latest posts by Italophile

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.


Posted: 02/04/2015 at 10:48

You too. Flat out dealing with Italian builders at the moment ...

Looks like you can't edit posts anymore. At least outside a certain time after posting. Bah. I'd add to my earlier post that temps for seedlings should certainly be into double figures.


Posted: 02/04/2015 at 08:02

That's on the cool side. I'd consider either bringing them inside at night or, at least, wrapping them in bubble wrap overnight. How often are you watering, Simon? It's very easy to overwater at this stage. You can let the mix dry out.

Lemon tree

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 21:22

It's only a couple of years old, isn't it? Shouldn't need pruning except to take out dead or ailing wood. Tepid water is better for watering over winter so as not to shock the roots too much. Otherwise water out of the tap.

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