Latest posts by Italophile

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.

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.


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