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Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 04/04/2014 at 10:20

Yes, asparagus needs very well prepared ground. As much well-rotted, aged manure and compost as possible for a light, well-drained soil. You do all the prep beforehand because, once the crowns are in place, you can't do much without damaging things. Asparagus beds are long-term affairs, you'd expect 20 years out of them.

Planting the crowns also needs a trench at least a foot wide and up to 12" deep depending on the soil's draining qualities.



Posted: 03/04/2014 at 07:05

Well, there you go. The very first couple of leaves you'll see aren't true leaves, they're cotyledons. They supply nourishment to the seedling. The true leaves will come along within a week or so. For now, give them as much light as possible.

The newly-sown seeds will need some moisture, just not too much. The mix should be damp at most.


Posted: 01/04/2014 at 13:40

Tomsk, it's usual for tom seeds to take between a couple of days and a week to germinate. Older, stubborn seeds can take a bit longer.

The fertiliser didn't help, and you planted a bit too deeply. The seeds need only be barely covered. I suspect the seeds might have rotted. The mix needs to be slightly damp at best.

Optimum temps for germination are in the 20sC, with, ideally, the warmth coming from underneath.

Toms too early ?

Posted: 01/04/2014 at 13:32

mias, they look good. A bit leggy and on the pale side, but that's down to where they're living.

Where they go immediately is down to temperatures, particularly overnight. What are the day and night temps in the unheated GH?

Regardless, they can stay in those containers until they're ready for their final homes. No need to pot them up. Mine live in smaller containers than those till they're planted out.

Tomato Feed - Yes or No

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 21:19

Rain isn't a problem, NewBoy, temps are the consideration for planting outside either in the ground or in pots. You'd need at least high teens C daytime and not less than mid-teens overnight to be worthwhile.

Beetroot and Tomato Seedlings

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 08:45

ommthree, at this stage your tom seedlings need nothing more than as much light as possible and some warmth. They're too young to cope with fertiliser.

With artificial lighting, keep the seedlings as close to the globes as you can. An inch and a half is fine. The seedlings won't burn. As the seedlings develop, raise the lights, but keep the narrow gap. In a 24-hour cycle, the seedlings need at least 6 hours of darkness. And don't overwater them.

Beetroot, like most root veg, are best sown directly into the ground when the soil is warm enough.

Tomato Feed - Yes or No

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 08:32

Doff has a decent NPK for toms. Fertilise sparingly even after the first fruit is set. Tom plants simply don't need to be stuffed with nutrients.


Posted: 20/03/2014 at 09:24

Sounds like a pollination problem in both cases. The fruit will shrivel and die off if the female flower hasn't been either properly or sufficiently pollinated.

It can happen, too, after hand pollination. Apart from making sure the pollen transfers to the stigma of the female flower, you have to be careful not to damage the stigma in the process.

S.Pierre variety of tomatoes

Posted: 17/03/2014 at 08:52

KEF, I grew them about 10 years ago in Sydney. They're a nice tom. I didn't grow them again because I thought there were heirlooms with better flavour. That said, they were in competition with some great varieties. I've never grown Alicante or Shirley so I've no idea how they rate.

Give 'em a try!

Packet seeds

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 09:49

Nelly, most seeds will keep beyond their sow-by-date if stored properly - kept dry, at a consistent moderate temperature. I'm still using tomato seeds that I saved in 2003.

Parsnip seeds are an exception. Germination levels drop off significantly even a year after packaging.

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