Latest posts by Italophile

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.

Sowing tomatoes cold greenhouse

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 09:25

Tomatoes are incredibly tough once they get going. The key to germination is warmth, preferably from beneath. An ideal temp for germination is in the mid-20s. They will germinate at lower temps but will take longer. Once germinated, temp is (relatively) less important, with light the key. As much as possible, preferably natural sunlight.

Bubble wrap is an excellent idea. I use it. If you have the seedlings in some sort of crate or tray, wrap the whole thing securely in bubble wrap. The bubble wrap will retain any warmth generated during the day, you shouldn't need fleece overnight unless it gets seriously cold.

Lemon tree

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 09:18

They will drop leaves in winter regardless, part of the regeneration process, replacing them when growth starts again. A couple of years ago I overwintered one of mine in an outdoor annex with very little light. Reappeared almost completely bald. It recovered. Light is important. This year I enclosed the covered pergola with heavy-duty plastic walls which allowed tons of light. I monitored the moisture levels, watering with tepid water a couple of times over the winter. All the citrus thrived. 

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