Latest posts by Italophile

Tomatoes & Hydroponics

Posted: 30/10/2015 at 09:16

Hydroponics is one of the reasons supermarket toms are so lacking in taste. Many, many are grown hydroponically these days because it's cheaper in terms of maintenance and being able to grow so many more in a given space. Water + chemicals is not a recipe for a tasty tomato.


tomatoes end of season

Posted: 30/10/2015 at 09:08

When, on balance, it's warmer inside than outside - even in a greenhouse - and especially overnight, they're better off inside. 

Fireplace Ash

Posted: 30/10/2015 at 09:03

I add mine to the compost heap. It's extremely water soluble and the benefits are relatively short-lived.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 29/10/2015 at 08:48

Yes, it's criminal. I'm not sure what can be done apart from targeting the supermarkets. It doesn't happen here in Italy so much. You find the wonkiest, ugliest root veg in most supermarkets, and often spuds still with some soil clinging to them.

Overwintering Chilli's

Posted: 29/10/2015 at 08:42

They will survive over winter given sufficient bright light and warmth. While, technically, they're perennials, they tend to gradually run out of steam after a season. In the past I've left mine outside into winter. A couple of decent frosts and the cold snap-freezes them on the plant and preserves them.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 13:43

I don't get germinations problems. Buy fresh seeds every season, sow three times as many as you otherwise would, don't bury them too deep, keep damp till germination. I also plant radishes between seeds and rows. Apart from getting another crop, I know exactly where the parsnips are sown.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 13:04

If it's deep enough.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 08:57

I did read somewhere that, back in the day, they were as popular in France as here. But then mysteriously disappeared from the diet.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 07:52

It's truly strange. They were one of the most widely-grown veg here in Roman times and the Romans took parsnips with them when they spread North. They were used in much the same way potatoes are these days. Maybe the appearance of the potato had something to do with their demise.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 07:16

Parsnips are unknown here in Italy. Strange, because in Roman times they were immensely popular. For some reason, they disappeared from the diet. There's a word for parsnip in Italian - pastinaca - but none of the locals have heard of it. I showed a neighbour the photo on a seed packet. She had never seen or heard of it. I gather they are grown in the north, around Parma, to feed to the pigs. I have to import seeds from the UK.

I plant in April-May, keep well watered during the hot summers, and don't start to harvest before December, by which time the frosts have added some lovely sweetness.

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