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Italophile


Latest posts by Italophile

lavender

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 14:53

I like the Italian method. Cut just below the flowers after flowering is over. Leave the plant to overwinter. In spring, just as the plant is coming back to life, cut again down to the first sign of new growth, taking all last year's growth. This prevents floppy, woody plants. Once they get floppy and woody it's hard to resurrect them.

Don't ever cut into old wood.

Blossom End Rot (Toms)

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 07:11

Andrew, BER is the result of plant stress impacting on the plant's ability to distribute calcium to the fruit. It's not necessarily related to watering but it can be. Excessive, prolonged warmth can cause it. Anything that stresses the plant.

I've had BER turn up on a couple of my toms. The temps here are constantly in the high-30sC with not much overnight relief. My BER is heat stress related.

Russian toms

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 07:07

SD, I've tried them. Not my favourites, I have to say. I find the taste a little harsh. The "black" varieties, all mainly from the Crimea region originally, tend to polarise people. They have their fans and their haters. There's usually no half way.

courgettes

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 15:33

You can freeze them though they can tend to be mushy when thawed. If you want to freeze them, cut them into pieces about an inch long, blanch for about a minute, plunge into icy water to stop them cooking. Dry them thoroughly, put them into freezer bags, suck out as much air as you can from inside the bags, seal the bags and put into the freezer.

I think they're best frozen by turning them into a soup and freezing the soup

Cutting back a cherry tree

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 11:02

Yup. Definitely. Always prune straight after fruiting. Cut out any weak or dodgy branches, branches that are crossing another one, and branches that are growing inwards towards the centre of the tree. Trim for height, too.

san marzano toms

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 10:57

Give them time, mits, they will ripen. Ripening is down to temperature rather than direct sunlight. Optimum temps for ripening are anything above low-20sC. The ones in the photos have already started to change colour so they're on the way.

Cucumbers

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 10:55

The female flowers (that produce the cukes) aren't being properly pollinated, Jean. If they're indoors, the insects can't get to the flowers to transfer the pollen from male flowers to female flowers. You might need to pollinate by hand.

when do i pick cucumbers

Posted: 02/08/2013 at 07:15

15cm sounds like a reasonable size. If they've turned dark green and are nice and firm, harvest one and try it as a guide. Leave them too long before harvest and the seeds get too big and the cuke is coarse.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 01/08/2013 at 16:30

My butternuts did something very unusual this year. Produced female flowers first. Never seen it before. Probably never see it again.

Cucumbers/Courgettes

Posted: 01/08/2013 at 07:45

Andrew, it's worth looking at why the extensive foliage. Are you feeding the plants? If you are, and with a nitrogen-rich fertiliser, you'd be encouraging leaf growth at the expense of fruit.

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