Latest posts by Italophile

Delphinium Soil Ammendments

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 13:06

We're in the centro storico of a wee hill town, BF. The garden is 250sqm on three terraces. Very rare in the centro storico of wee hill towns. In fact, our back fence is the medieval wall around the remains of the 15th century tower at the very top of the town.

I don't see anything like enough ladybirds either. For aphids, and I get them in plagues, too many to pick or hose off, I use a pyrethrum spray. It's organic in that it's derived from Chrysanthemums but, obviously, it knocks over beneficial insects too. Pyrethrum is the English name, it's Piretro in Italian. It's commonly available.

It's a contact spray, not systemic. You have to hit the pests to kill them. It doesn't have any residual impact. The pests will return the next day. I had to go down the nasty chemical route once when I couldn't get Piretro. Decis jet is a Bayer product that's systemic. It kills the pests and any that return until the next rainfall that washes off the stuff.

The nasty black insects on the roses are probably maggiolini. No idea what they're called in English. A friend down in Umbria, a rose fanatic, is driven mad by them every year. The locals say they disappear in June but my friend claims otherwise. They're also supposed only to attack light-coloured roses. I'll find out. She has given me a light-coloured rose that is just about to bloom!

Bell Peppers

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 07:24

They're not going to get enough light inside. If they're an inch and a half or more tall, get them out of the propagator and into pots no bigger than 3". They need to get some roots developing which won't happen in the propagator.

Put them into the greenhouse which, hopefully, will give them sunlight and warmth. If the overnight temps in the greenhouse get below about 12C, bring them inside overnight. Put them out again next day.

Bell Peppers

Posted: 20/05/2014 at 21:33

Spindly (or leggy) means they're looking for light. Light is the priority now. Where do they live at the moment? Inside?

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.

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