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Latest posts by Italophile

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.

tomato seeds

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 11:53

I'm using tom seeds I saved in 2003. Kept dry and at a consistent moderate temp, they will remain viable. If older seeds prove a bit stubborn, soak them overnight in warm water.

Carrots, Parsnips - Manure?

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 09:18

Root veg are best grown in soil manured the year before.

Tomato varieties for outdoors

Posted: 03/03/2014 at 08:01

Mandy, if they're outside, give them as much space between plants as you can, try to keep a gap of around 18" between the lowest foliage and the soil, and nip out excess foliage that looks like clumping together and hindering air circulation. Keep the foliage as dry as you can and nip off and destroy any leaves as soon as they show any tell-tale signs of wee spots with dark rings around them.

The common fungal diseases in the domestic tomato garden - eg, Early Blight and SLS - are a hindrance much more than a death sentence. With a helping hand, the plants cope and live their usual lives.

Tomato varieties for outdoors

Posted: 02/03/2014 at 08:52
Mandy-Newbie2013 wrote (see)

What Tomato Varieties do you normally grow outdoors? I had success with Principe Borghese last year, but I know last year was a very good weather year...


I have the following free seeds from mags so would be interested to know if you've grown them outdoors (or any other varieties);


Gardeners delight


Red Pear


(the cold GH is already allocated to Soldacki, Cuore Di Bue, Sungold, Suncherry premium and Anna Russian & peppers - all from suggestions on here)

I might try and make some sort of blight (rain) shelter for the outdoor toms

Mandy, don't bother with a blight (rain) shelter. Fungal spores travel on the breeze and there's no way of intercepting them. The only way to keep a plant dry outdoors is to enclose it and, in doing so, you reduce air circulation, one of the few natural helping hands against fungal disease.

Tomato Varieties

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 10:57

Tomsk, the lights you mention will help tom seedlings develop providing they're sufficiently close to the seedlings. They provide light and warmth. I sometimes use a couple of desk lamps to raise my seedlings immediately after they've germinated. The lights have to be no more than a couple of inches above the seedlings, raising the lights as the seedlings grow.


Tomato Varieties

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 10:52

Supermarket toms, with very very very rare exceptions, are hybrid varieties. Saved seed from hybrid varieties won't grow true to type - that is, you won't get the same fruit again. In simple terms, the hybridised gene pool starts to unravel through successive generations. Ditto, obviously, hybridised seeds growing in the compost heap. You're better off starting from scratch with a variety known to be both tasty and productive.

Beetroot Problems

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 08:30

An excess of nitrogen - either in the soil or added later - is a common cause of leaf development at the expense of the root. Don't overcrowd them, thin out the multiple seedlings that emerge, give them plenty of sun, water very sparingly, and they should pretty much grow themselves.

Talkback: Tomato blight

Posted: 04/02/2014 at 14:16

The aspirin-as-a-treatment-for-fungal-problems theory has been around for a few years. In short, it's based on the notion that one of the constituent parts of aspirin triggers a tomato plant's inbuilt defences against fungal disease. I've never tried it, the few people I know who did try it said it had no noticeable effect. Give it a try, see what happens.

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