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Latest posts by Italophile

Bell Peppers

Posted: 20/05/2014 at 19:38

That's what I was thinking, Bob.

They can go outside into the sun during the day if temps are into the teens.

Bell Peppers

Posted: 20/05/2014 at 14:56

Okay, they're still the cotyledons, the baby leaves. They're what nourish the seedling till the real leaves arrive. How tall are they exactly? And what colour are the stems? Proper green or very pale green?


Posted: 20/05/2014 at 10:13

I think I've told the story before, but my local fruttivendolo in the town grows his own toms and we swap seedlings every year. Last year he gave me too many. I left the spares in a bucket with only the soil that was hanging onto the roots. Forgot all about them. Not a drop of water, nothing. They flowered and were producing fruit when they finally gave up the ghost.

That's why I always bang on about overwatering and overfertilising. Toms just don't need it.


Posted: 20/05/2014 at 07:22

Yep, tomatoes are amazingly sturdy critters. Give them as much sun as they can get and they will bounce back.

Bell Peppers

Posted: 20/05/2014 at 07:20

Are they true leaves or still the cotyledons? Either way, if they're developing some height you can transplant them into 3" pots now. Give them as much light and warmth as you can. Same as you would with tomato seedlings.

parsnips seedlings

Posted: 20/05/2014 at 07:18

Parsnips are slow to germinate but there should have been some sign by now. Were the seeds fresh, nikki? Even year-old seeds struggle for viability.

Cherry Tomatoes

Posted: 16/05/2014 at 11:23

If they're in a closed propagator and in the sun, there's a good chance of cooking them. Leave them uncovered in the sun. Bring them inside at night if outside overnight temps get down below about 10C.

staking tomatoes

Posted: 16/05/2014 at 11:21
rosie28 wrote (see)

My problem with growing tomatoes is knowing when to stop removing the side growths.  I have grown the plants in pots  (with wigwams) - but suspect that I let them get too big.  Do these things  matter, please?

You can stop when it's clear that the growing season is coming to an end. By that stage, they're not going to develop much.

Coffee grounds

Posted: 16/05/2014 at 11:15

Used coffee grounds have lost most of their acidity during the coffee brewing process. I put ours on the compost heap.

Delphinium Soil Ammendments

Posted: 16/05/2014 at 09:01

BleuFairy, I'm Australian originally, been here 9 years.

You could use a 20:20:20. The point is that it's balanced. I've only ever found a 10:10:10 here once. One of the problems for the domestic gardener here is that there isn't a "garden centre" culture per se. Specialised agricultural supply outlets are still mainly targeted at farmers. It can be very frustrating.

For liquid fertilisers, only worry about the NPK.

Humus-rich just means plenty of organic material - garden compost, leaf mould, aged (not fresh) horse manure, etc. Apart from giving the plant roots a good healthy environment from the start, organic material drains very well.

A soil pH of 5 or 6 is acid. 7 is about neutral, and the higher the number, the more alkaline the soil. As I said, Italian soil is naturally alkaline. The Italian peninsula is basically a big lump of limestone. The water is naturally very alkaline too. Look at the build-up of lime in your jug or kettle.

In fact, it gives me problems with my tomatoes. Toms like slightly acid soil. When I plant out the toms, I mix some acid potting mix into the hole to counter the alkaline soil. Then, when watering, to counter the very alkaline water, I add a tbsp of vinegar to a gallon of water every second or third time I water.

Terriccio is what they call the soil/potting mix in bags. Avoid the cheap supermarket or Brico stuff like the plague. As always, you get what you pay for. I've used Compo, it's very good. Stick with it.

Torba means peat. Terriccio is just about always peat-based. The pH is listed on the bag more often than not. But, if not, you can be sure the terriccio is on the acid side of neutral because peat is naturally acidic. However! Because the soil you add the terriccio to is naturally alkaline, and because you'll be adding alkalinity every time you water, the acid nature of the terriccio won't be a big problem.

The plants need to be well-drained. What sort of soil do you have in its natural state? Clay-based? Sandy? Loam? Knowing what you have to start with will dictate what you have to do to it. If you're not sure, the best bet is to dig a hole, fill it with water, and watch what happens. If the water sits in the hole, you're clay-based. If it drains straight away, it's sandy. If it gradually drains away, you've got loam.

As to the fertilising, you can mix in some pelleted horse or chook manure when planting. Just keep it away from the roots. A high phosphorus fertiliser is one where the P figure is substantially higher than the N or K. Phosphorus assists flower development.


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