Latest posts by Italophile

What's happened to my tomato?

Posted: 14/07/2014 at 09:41

Give it a chance, OL. It will take a while to settle into its new home. Ditch it now and you'll never know!

What's happened to my tomato?

Posted: 14/07/2014 at 09:37

Which plant is this, OL? The ailing one in the second photo?


Posted: 14/07/2014 at 09:16

It does depend on the variety. Different varieties will ripen as different colours.

Blosom End Rot

Posted: 14/07/2014 at 09:09

KEF, it's not so much letting the soil or compost dry out but erratic watering patterns. Plant stress is thought to be the underlying cause of BER, with erratic watering patterns topping the list of contributing factors.

But I've had BER on plants that have enjoyed utterly regular, consistent watering patterns. There are obviously other factors that can stress a plant - sudden, rapid temperature changes; possibly even strong winds, whatever. Still, we've come a long way with BER from the days when the answer was said to be insufficient calcium in the soil. Roll on science.

It still remains a mystery why some varieties - mainly the plums, San Marzano, etc - can be more prone to BER than other varieties. I've often had plums in the same bed alongside other varieties - identical soil, identical watering and climatic conditions - with the plums suffering BER while the other varieties remain clean. You'd have to assume there's some genetic factor at work. Roll on science again.


What's happened to my tomato?

Posted: 13/07/2014 at 16:07

KEF, I grew St Pierre many years ago. Lovely looking fruit, only so-so flavour. Never grew them again. You won't miss much.


What's happened to my tomato?

Posted: 13/07/2014 at 15:23

OL, I'd wait till that sickly plant has been potted up into a bigger pot with good quality potting mix before worrying about Epsom salts. Good quality mix will contain the nutrients the plant needs.

After repotting the plant, I'd isolate it from the others. There are definite signs of early blight on the leaves and possibly also something like septoria leaf spot.

Don't fret about repotting. You just about have to cut the roots off a tomato plant to kill it. I've been AWOL from the forum because I was dragged kicking and screaming back to Sydney for a month's holiday I didn't want. A neighbour kindly agreed to look after the watering for me while away. I had 5 plants that had been in the ground for about 3 weeks. The plants were up on one of the garden terraces. Rather than her having to drag the hose up steep steps and along a terrace to water the toms, I dug them up and stuck them into pots of compost on the terrace for her to water more easily. They were fine. Yesterday I put them back into the ground where they came from. Today they're fine again.

Toms are very sturdy plants that will survive all sorts of handling and even mishandling.

What's happened to my tomato?

Posted: 13/07/2014 at 08:16

Orchid Lady, it's not BER. BER produces a dark leathery patch on the fruit.

Looking at the second photo in your 20.34 post, you've got a sick plant. Signs of several fungal problems and probably nutrient deficiencies too. I'd pot it up into a bigger pot with good quality potting mix and isolate it from the healthy plants. I'd also lay off the watering.

Sweet Bell Peppers

Posted: 13/07/2014 at 08:05

How hot does it get in the greenhouse, Scott? Excessive heat will flatten the plants. Make sure there's plenty of ventilation.


Posted: 28/06/2014 at 00:09

In the meantime, Kate, I don't know how advanced your LVs are, but I have one in a pot that lives on the terrace. I cut it back heavily for winter and it overwinters with protection on the terrace where it gets mighty cold. Every year when I uncover it, it  looks like it's dead - very dry, very brown. Sure enough, it bounces back every year but it's always the last plant on the terrace to spring to life. They can be deceptive. Give yours a chance.


Posted: 22/06/2014 at 00:59

In simple terms, the tomato flower contains both the anther and stigma - the male and female organs. It only requires some sort of movement of the flower - a foraging insect, a flick with the fingers, etc - to trigger the release of the pollen from the anther. If sufficient pollen is taken up by the stigma, you have fruit. If insufficient pollen is taken up by the stigma, or pollen isn't released by the anther, the flower doesn't produce fruit and will eventually shrivel up and drop.

Tom plants of different varieties adjacent to each other can cross-pollinate but the cross will only reveal itself in the next generation - ie, if you were to save seeds from the fruit that results from the cross this season and plant them next season. This season's fruit will be the variety you planted. It's the seeds inside that are crossed.

It's very hard to tell varieties apart in the early stages unless they are different leaf shapes - eg, potato leaf as against regular leaf. It's sometimes easier to differentiate between them later if you're familiar with growth habits, etc.

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