Latest posts by Italophile

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.

I just could not wait any longer!!

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 08:24

You're a fiend, bigolob.

Olive Tree problem

Posted: 24/01/2014 at 09:15

Don't know where in central Europe you are but we're in central Italy. Gets mighty cold, if not as cold as where you are.

I kept a potted olive outdoors. I parked it beside my potted fig, under cover - a covered pergola - and against a protected wall. Wrapped both pots tightly in a double layer of bubble wrap and a double layer of fleece over the foliage. You just have to keep an eye on the moisture levels. Use at least tepid water if need be.


Posted: 23/01/2014 at 13:08

They sure are. Amongst other things, you can also make Fried Green Tomatoes with them.

A lot of non-Italians find the greenness of the salad tomatoes here off-putting. They add a nice tang in place of the traditional tom taste.


Posted: 23/01/2014 at 07:29

Tracey, you don't have to delay planting for green toms. Just harvest the fruit early. Here in Italy they're very keen on green toms in their salads. You see a lot of them in greengrocers' shops.

There are also a number of heirloom varieties that are green at maturity - ie, they never turn red.

Another tomato question

Posted: 22/01/2014 at 19:54

biofreak, after germination, I put mine under a couple of old desk lamps. Plenty of warmth and light. The key is to have the light sources no more than an inch and a half above the seedlings. Fear not, the seedlings won't burn. Raise the lights - or lower the seedlings - to keep the same distance as the seedlings grow.

Another tomato question

Posted: 22/01/2014 at 09:57

That price is outrageous.


Posted: 21/01/2014 at 12:26

djjjuk, toms need at least 6 hours a day of direct sunlight for optimum growth*. They will cope with less but their progress will suffer accordingly. Ditto temperatures. Low 20sC and above are fine. The lower you go, the more they will suffer.

*Until the toms have grown and are ready to ripen. At that point, direct sunlight isn't necessary. Ripening is down to temperature, not sunlight.

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